ISLAMABAD, Feb 8 (News Agencies): More than 9,600 people are now confirmed dead in Turkiye and Syria following Monday’s quake, making it the deadliest seismic event in more than a decade, according to officials in Turkey and Syria.
In Turkiye authorities said at least 7,108 people died. The Syrian government reported 1,250 deaths.
Agencies have said those numbers could rise significantly as many people remain trapped under the rubble.
Pictures emerge showing successful rescue operation. A young Turkish boy is saved after being pulled out from under a destroyed building in Hatay, one of the country’s worst-affected areas.
The White Helmets, volunteer first responders in northwestern Syria, have reported at least 1,280 deaths in rebel-held areas.
The death toll could further surge as rescue workers continue search for survivors under the rubbles of thousands of toppled buildings despite freezing-cold weather.
Relatives of victims, and global rescue teams including from Pakistan have also joined the rescue efforts in the worst-hit cities.
“Another miracle,” said the White Helmets, a rescue organisation operating in rebel-control areas in northwestern Syria.
“A child rescued after more than 40 hours of being trapped under the rubble of her house in the city of Salqin in the countryside of Idlib,” it added in a Twitter post.
Countries and organizations from across the globe have responded to the crisis with money, equipment and boots on the ground. Doctors Without Borders says it has 500 staff working in Syria — some of whom lost family members in the quake. NATO said its members are sending more than 1,400 emergency response personnel, CNN reported.
The World Health Organization estimates up to 23 million people could be affected by the earthquake. The situation is particularly dire in Syria, where the UN says nearly 70% of the population was in need of humanitarian assistance before the quake — an issue that has only been compounded by the tragedy.
The damage caused a temporary disruption to the UN’s cross-border aid into Syria, with UN humanitarian teams exploring all avenues to reach those in need. Meanwhile, hospitals in war-hit Syria are “absolutely overloaded,” UNICEF’s representative in Aleppo said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go to the country’s southern region to inspect areas struck by the earthquakes, state-run Anadolu news agency has said.
Erdogan is expected to visit Kahramanmaras city centre first and then the Pazarcik district that was the epicentre of one of Monday’s earthquakes, the agency repoted. The president is later expected to head to Hatay for inspections, it added.
Following the violent earthquakes, throngs of trapped victims used social media to reach out for help and pinpoint their locations for rescuers.