Death toll rises to more than 4,000 after earthquakes in Turkey and Syria | News about earthquakes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared seven days of national mourning and Syria appealed to the United Nations for help after the devastating earthquakes killed more than 4,000 people and collapsed buildings across southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.

Authorities fear the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck before dawn on Monday, followed by a 7.6-magnitude quake and several Aftershocks would continue to increase as rescuers searched for survivors among layers of metal and concrete spread across a region already reeling from Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.

Rescuers searched through the cold night into Tuesday morning, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble as those trapped beneath the mountain of rubble cried for help.

Yunus Sezer, head of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD), said the death toll in Turkey was 2,921, while 15,834 were injured.

At least 1,300 people have been killed in Syria, according to the Ministry of Health and the rescue organization White Helmets on Monday evening.

Freezing winter weather conditions and snowfall in the devastated region further worsened the situation of thousands of people who were left injured and homeless by the earthquake. Collapsed buildings and destroyed roads are hampering efforts to find survivors and deliver vital aid to affected areas.

Al Jazeera reporter Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, said millions of people needed help.

“And their need is even worse because it’s winter and they’re dealing with cold temperatures, snow and rain.”

Ten cities in southern Turkey have been declared disaster areas, reports Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from Istanbul. Freezing temperatures and snow have hampered rescue efforts, and more bad weather is expected to hit the region. Electricity and natural gas supplies have been interrupted in many areas and the government is working to restore both services.

“The full picture of the devastation is just beginning to emerge — devastation that will likely become more apparent as the sun rises,” Ghoneim said on Tuesday.

Seismic activity continued to rock the region on Monday, including another tremor nearly as powerful as the first.

The US Geological Survey measured the magnitude of the first earthquake at 7.8, with a depth of 18 km (11 mi). A few hours later, it was also struck by a magnitude 7.6 earthquake. A second impact sent a multi-storey apartment building in the Turkish city of Sanliurfa tumbling onto the street in a cloud of dust as bystanders screamed, according to video footage of the scene.

Dramatic video footage broadcast on Turkish television shows buildings collapsing in real time. Visual images showed rescuers pulling the child alive from the collapsed building. The child was then reunited with his distraught parents on the snow-covered streets.

More than 7,800 people were rescued in 10 provinces, said Orhan Tatar, an official with Turkey’s disaster management. Strained medical facilities quickly filled with injured people, rescuers said.

The Syrian American Medical Society, which operates hospitals in northern Syria and southern Turkey, said in a statement that its facilities were “overwhelmed with patients filling the corridors” and urgently called for “trauma supplies and a comprehensive emergency response to save lives and treated the injured”.

Governments and aid agencies rushed to deploy personnel, funds and equipment to Turkey and Syria.

(Al Jazeera)

Jordan is sending emergency aid to Syria and Turkey on the orders of King Abdullah II, while Egypt has promised emergency humanitarian aid to Turkey. Lebanon’s cash-strapped government is also sending the Red Cross and Civil Defense for emergency responders and firefighters to Turkey to help with rescue efforts.

The European Union has mobilized search and rescue teams and the Copernicus satellite system has been activated to provide emergency mapping services. At least 13 member states have offered to help. The EU, the United States and Great Britain have said they are also ready to send aid to Syria.

Germany’s foreign ministry said it was coordinating its aid response with EU partners and preparing deliveries of emergency generators, tents, blankets and water purification equipment.

The US is coordinating immediate assistance to NATO member Turkey, including teams to support search and rescue efforts. In California, nearly 100 firefighters and civil engineers from Los Angeles County, along with half a dozen specially trained dogs, were sent to Turkey to help with rescue efforts.

Russian rescue teams from the Ministry of Emergencies are preparing to fly to Syria, where the Russian military deployed in the country has already sent 10 units of 300 people to help clear the rubble and search for survivors. The Russian army set up points for the distribution of humanitarian aid. Russia also offered to help Turkey, which was accepted.

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