The latest reports from Türkiye and Syria two days after the series of earthquakes and aftershocks that hit the region mention at least 8,100 people confirmed dead as hopes of finding any new survivors under the rubble of collapsed buildings are turning slimmer by the minute.
Rescue teams with heavy equipment have been working round-the-clock despite the cold weather, local media also pointed out. At the same time, help is arriving from various parts of the world. These operations will continue until we reach the last citizen under the rubble, Türkiye's Vice President Fuat Oktay said late Tuesday.
Oktay also pointed out that said some 16,150 search and rescue troops were deployed while about 60,000 aid workers are on the ground. He also explained that the international relief teams will be flown late on Wednesday mainly to Adiyaman, Hatay. and Kahramanmaras provinces as weather conditions are forecasted to allow such operations.
Meanwhile, the number of fatalities rose to 8160, with over 39,200 people injured. In Türkiye alone, according to Oktay, there were at least 5894 dead and more than 34,810 injured. In Syria, 2270 people died, according to data from the health ministry and the White Helmets.
With a magnitude between 7.7 and 7.8, the quake had shaken the area on the border between Türkiye and Syria early Monday morning, followed by another quake with a magnitude of 7.5 in the afternoon in the same region. Thousands of buildings collapsed as freezing temperatures added to the plight of survivors and first responders. Monday's first tremor was felt as far away as Lebanon, Cyprus, and northern Iraq.
Rescue teams in Syria suspect that hundreds of families are still buried under the rubble, particularly in the rebel-held region of Idlib, where emergency government aid is proving difficult because of opposing forces in the civil war. After more than 11 years of war, the government forces of strongman Bashar al-Assad once again control about two-thirds of Syria.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decreed a state of emergency for three months in ten southeastern provinces hit by the earthquake. Based on maps of the affected area, Adelheid Marschang of the World Health Organization (WHO) said that 23 million people are exposed to the consequences of the earthquake, including five million vulnerable people.
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