Frantic search in Turkey and Syria after earthquake kills over 4,000 people

ADANA: Rescuers raced on Tuesday to rescue survivors from the rubble of thousands of buildings destroyed by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks that struck eastern Turkey and neighboring Syria, killing more than 4 000 people.
Countries around the world sent teams to help with rescue efforts, but a day after the earthquake the number of emergency teams on the ground remained low, their efforts hampered by freezing temperatures and near than 200 replicates, which made the search unstable. perilous structures.
Nurgul Atay said she could hear her mother’s voice under the rubble of a collapsed building in the city of Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, but that her efforts and those of others to enter the ruins had been in vain without any rescue teams or heavy equipment. help.
“If only we could lift the concrete slab, we could reach it,” she said. “My mother is 70 years old, she won’t be able to take this for long.”
In Hatay province, just southwest of the quake’s epicenter, officials said as many as 1,500 buildings had been destroyed and scores of people reported relatives trapped under the rubble without no aid or rescue team arrives.
In areas where crews were working, occasional cheers erupted throughout the night as survivors emerged from the rubble.
The earthquake, which was centered in Kahramanmaras province in southeastern Turkey, sent residents of Damascus and Beirut rushing to the streets and was felt as far away as Cairo.
In Hatay province, thousands of people sheltered in sports centers or fairgrounds, while others spent the night outside, huddled in blankets around fires. A navy ship docked at the provincial port of Iskenderun, where a hospital collapsed, on Tuesday to ferry survivors in need of medical attention to the nearby town of Mersin.
In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, a provincial capital about 33 kilometers (20 miles) from the epicentre, people have taken refuge in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centers.
At least 2,921 people have been killed in 10 Turkish provinces, with nearly 16,000 injured, according to Turkish authorities. The death toll in areas controlled by the Syrian government stood at 656 people, with some 1,400 injured, according to the health ministry. In the rebel-held northwest of the country, groups operating there said at least 450 people were dead and several hundred injured. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning.
Authorities fear the death toll will continue to rise as rescuers search for survivors among the tangles of metal and concrete spread across the region plagued by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.
In the latest international aid pledges, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol said he was preparing to quickly dispatch a 60-person search and rescue team and medical supplies. The Pakistani government sent a flight carrying relief supplies and a 50-member search and rescue team early on Tuesday, and said there would be daily aid flights to Syria and Turkey from Wednesday. . India said it would send two search and rescue teams, including specially trained dogs and medical personnel.
US President Joe Biden called Erdogan to express his condolences and offer help to the NATO ally. The White House said it was sending search and rescue teams to support Turkey’s efforts.
The earthquake has deepened misery in a region that has experienced enormous suffering over the past decade. On the Syrian side, the affected area is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces. Turkey is home to millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war.
In the rebel-held enclave, hundreds of families remained trapped in the rubble, the opposition emergency organization known as the White Helmets said in a statement. The region is teeming with some 4 million people displaced from other parts of the country by war. Many live in buildings already damaged by military bombardment.
Overcrowded medical centers quickly filled with injured people, emergency workers said. Some facilities had to be emptied, including a maternity ward, according to the medical organization SAMS.
More than 7,800 people have been rescued in 10 provinces, according to Orhan Tatar, an official with Turkey’s disaster management authority.
The region sits atop major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes. Some 18,000 people were killed in equally powerful earthquakes that struck northwestern Turkey in 1999.
The US Geological Survey measured Monday’s earthquake at 7.8, with a depth of 18 kilometers (11 miles). Hours later, another quake, likely triggered by the first one, hit more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) away with a magnitude of 7.5.
The second tremor tipped a multi-storey building in the Turkish town of Sanliurfa onto the street in a cloud of dust as passers-by screamed, according to video from the scene.
Thousands of buildings have collapsed in a wide area stretching from the Syrian cities of Aleppo and Hama to Diyarbakir in Turkey, more than 330 kilometers (200 miles) to the northeast.


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