VIDEO: Terrifying numbers in Turkey and Syria, so far over 7.200 victims and 25.000 injured
The number of people killed in the earthquake in Turkey and Syria exceeded 7.200 people today, it was reported Sky news. The death toll is expected to continue to rise as rescue teams and international aid arrive, and rescuers after many cold weather with all their might trying to pull out survivors from under the ruins.
NOW: Israeli Defense Force teams have begun search & rescue operations in Turkey. #earthquake pic.twitter.com/c1SqxYb4Im
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A large area has been destroyed, making it difficult for rescue teams to reach the destroyed cities and towns, and because of the cold, it is feared how long people will be able to survive under the rubble.
It's freezing cold in the areas affected by the earthquake in Turkey, and the affected people are in need of rescue & support. 2nd batch (55 members & 4 search dogs) of Japan Disaster Relief Team left for Turkey, with firm determination to do best to rescue the victims. pic.twitter.com/UD3l0cDEzv
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Turkey's emergency management agency said the country's total death toll exceeded 4.500, with around 26.000 injured. The death toll in government-held areas of Syria has risen to more than 800, while at least 900 have been reported in rebel-held areas, according to the White Helmets, an organization leading rescue operations.
A 7,8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria early yesterday, followed by a series of aftershocks and another major 7,5-magnitude earthquake, left hundreds of kilometers of devastated areas in southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. The quake toppled thousands of buildings, bringing fresh suffering to a region that has been wracked by Syria's 12-year civil war and has been hit by a refugee crisis.
Unstable piles of metal and concrete make searching for people who may be trapped under the rubble dangerous, and freezing temperatures raise concerns about how long trapped people can survive in the cold.
In Turkey alone, more than 8.000 people have been pulled out from under the ruins, and around 380.000 have taken refuge in state shelters or hotels, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said. They took shelter in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques, local communities, while others spent the night under blankets around a fire.
After 31 hours under the rubble, the Gendarmerie Search and Rescue teams rescued 9-year-old Zeynep in Turkey's Gaziantep.#TurkeyQuake#TurkeySyriaEarthquake#PrayForTurkey pic.twitter.com/WSQ4jlTJZN
— Ismail Poddar (@Ismail_poddar_) -
Many took to social media to ask for help for their loved ones who they fear are under the rubble. Interior Ministry officials said all calls were carefully collected and the information was passed on to search teams, Anadolu Agency reported.
The Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said 13 million of the country's 85 million people were affected by the earthquake and declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces.
According to the World Health Organization, there could be as many as 23 million affected in the area affected by the earthquake.
"This is a crisis that adds to the many crises in that area," said a WHO emergency official in Geneva.
Millions of refugees from the Syrian civil war live in Turkey.
The area hit by the earthquake in Syria is divided into government-controlled territories and a final opposition-controlled enclave where millions of people live in extreme poverty and depend on humanitarian aid.
Turkey has tried to speed up the delivery of aid by allowing only aid vehicles to enter the hardest-hit provinces of Karamanmaras, Adiyaman and Hatay.
The UN said it was "examining all options" to deliver aid to rebel-held areas in northwest Syria. A Médecins Sans Frontières representative in the country said health facilities were overwhelmed and medical staff were working around the clock to help the injured.
Help is reaching some. Several dramatic rescue efforts were reported across the area, and survivors, including young children, were pulled from the rubble more than 30 hours after the quake.