Turkey, Syria earthquakes toll crosses 7,800; cold, damaged roads hit rescue ops
Turkey, Syria earthquakes: There are fears that the toll could mount higher, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials predicting that close to 20,000 people might have died, AFP reported.
The death in the earthquakes which ravaged Turkey and Syria has killed more than 7,800. Out of these, 5,894 people have lost their lives in Turkey alone where a three-month-long emergency has been declared by president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. There are fears that the toll could mount higher, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials predicting that close to 20,000 people might have died, AFP reported.
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According to Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, at least 20,426 people were injured while 5,775 buildings had been destroyed due to the earthquake, Reuters reported.
The rescuers are battling cold temperatures and several other challenges to rescue thousands of people who are still reportedly trapped under the debris.
Here are the top five developments unfolding in earthquake zones Turkey and Syria.
1. The rescue operations have been severely affected due to a winter storm which left several roads almost impassable. This has resulted in traffic jams stretching for kilometres in some regions of Turkey. The people left on the streets are burning debris to keep themselves warm in this weather.
2. The Syrian Red Crescent has appealed to the West to lift sanctions and provide aid for relief efforts. The ruling Bashar al-Assad government remains a pariah in the West. On Monday, the United States and the European Commission had said that humanitarian programmes supported by them were responding to the situation in Syria.
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3. There have been reports of scuffle between hapless citizens and rescue workers in Turkey's Antakya. According to a Reuters report, a 54-year-old woman was pulled alive from an eight-storey building after 32 hours. It was then a woman shouted at the rescue workers claiming her father was just behind the room she was in. The rescue workers explained they could not reach the room from the front and needed an excavator to remove the wall first.
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4. Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi spoke to Erdogan, offering condolences and support after the earthquake, Reuters reported. Egypt and Turkey have warmed ties recently after years of tensions as diplomatic relations have been strained since Sisi, then Egypt's army chief, led the 2013 ousting of Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was strongly supported by Erdogan.
5. The situation in Syria, which has already been suffering due to the civil war, is no less pitiable. In Hama, funerals for several families were taking place during the day. Mosques opened their doors to families whose homes were damaged.