5,600 buildings destroyed by Turkey earthquake – as civil war complicates rescue efforts in Syria | world news

More than 5,600 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed by yesterday’s powerful earthquake and aftershocks – as Syria’s long-running civil war complicates rescue efforts there.

At least 3,554 people have died in the two countries – and authorities fear the death toll could rise further.

The 7.8-magnitude quake hit before dawn on Monday, when many people would have been asleep.

And while rescuers spent the night scouring the rubble, the freezing cold could reduce the time they have to find survivors.

So far, more than 7,800 people in Turkey have been rescued across 10 provinces – and teams from around the world have traveled to the epicenter to help.

In Syria, the earthquake and subsequent tremors have further weakened the foundations of buildings that have borne the brunt of shelling and airstrikes in a decade of unrest.

Latest figures suggest more than 13,000 people in Turkey have been injured – and in the town of Iskenderun there was a huge pile of debris where an intensive care unit once stood.

“We have a patient who had surgery but we don’t know what happened,” said Tulin, a woman in her 30s who stood outside the hospital and wiped tears from her eyes.

This region is unable to cope with a disaster of this magnitude

Hundreds of rescue workers are still arriving at the earthquake zone in Turkey in the early morning hours.

Adana airport is inundated with staff – many of them volunteers – who have traveled from across the country to try to help in what is rapidly turning into Turkey’s worst natural disaster in nearly a century.

Many have relatives or friends they are still trying to reach in the multiple towns and villages affected.

I was with an Istanbul-based doctor this morning as she frantically tried to phone colleagues in Hatay, considered one of the worst affected areas and close to the Syrian border.

“We can’t reach them,” she said. “We are really worried.”

It is believed that at least two hospitals collapsed in Hatay when the earthquakes rocked this region.

Worried people were glued to television and radio reports and watched in horror as the death toll rose hour by hour.

Some 45 countries have already offered their help. Turkey is going to need it to the last.

Reaching the affected people on the other side of the Syrian border is going to be extremely complicated.

Many residents along the Turkish border have already been displaced several times.

In a region so badly affected by war and poverty for more than a decade, this region is particularly vulnerable and unable to cope with a disaster of this magnitude.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

“A long night” for volunteers after the earthquake

Desperate scenes

Tens of thousands of people have been left homeless in Turkey and Syria – and spent last night in the cold.

About 20 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter in Gaziantep, people took refuge in shopping malls, mosques, stadiums and community centers.

In a rebel-held Syrian enclave, four million people were already displaced before the powerful earthquakes – and many live in buildings destroyed by military bombardment.

A mound of concrete and steel roads lay where a multi-storey building once stood in Aleppo, with a thin young man expressing fears that 12 families could be trapped.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

Shaved streets at the epicenter of the earthquake

The Syrian White Helmets, a relief service in rebel-held territory, said they were in a “race against time” to save the lives of all those under the rubble.

Imran Bahur’s building in the Turkish city of Adana was also destroyed. She said her 18-month-old grandson was on the 12th floor and asked for help to save him.

Search teams working in Diyarbakir, another Turkish city, have sometimes raised their hands and called for calm – listening for signs of life.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

War-torn Syria struggles after earthquake

Syria asks for help

Syrian Ambassador to the UN, Bassam Sabbagh, has asked for help from the United Nations, being assured that member states will do everything possible in this “very difficult situation”.

He went on to stress that the government is ready to help and coordinate aid deliveries “to all Syrians in all territories of Syria”.

But in addition to harsh winter conditions, road damage and fuel shortages hampered the UN’s response to the earthquake.

“The infrastructure is damaged, the roads we used for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how we reach people…but we are working hard,” said the UN Resident Coordinator, El-Mostafa Benlamlih. Reuters news agency.

Please use Chrome browser for more accessible video player

The earthquake between Turkey and Syria explained

Erdogan declares seven days of national mourning

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with his American counterpart Joe Biden.

The White House said Mr Biden had stressed “the willingness of the United States to provide all necessary assistance” to Turkey – a NATO ally.

Two 79-person urban search and rescue teams have been deployed from Washington – and discussions are ongoing about other forms of relief, including health services.

Rescue workers from the UK, the Czech Republic and Germany also traveled to the epicenter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GreenLeaf Tw2sl