Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Turkey-Syria earthquake live updates: Death toll nears 42,000

Search operation continues for the possible survivors in quake-hit southeast Turkey and northern Syria. At least 41,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria.

Over 100 UN aid trucks crossed into NW Syria

More than 100 trucks with UN aid, including tents, heaters and cholera testing kits, have crossed into northwest Syria since the earthquakes struck.

“The UN is continuing to scale up its operation with the plan to utilize all three Turkish-Syrian border crossings, Bab Al-Hawa, Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee, to ensure a constant reach of aid to different districts of north-west Syria,” read a UN statement.

Shelter needs were identified as the top priority among displaced populations in the opposition-controlled area, it added.

UN warns Syria death toll will rise

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Syria has said that the country’s death toll from last week’s deadly earthquakes is likely to rise further as teams scramble to remove rubble in hard-hit areas.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Muhannad Hadi defended the UN’s response to the disaster, which many in Syria have criticised as slow and inadequate.

The UN has reported a death toll of about 5,800 for all of Syria, including 4,400 in the rebel-held northwest.

“We’re hoping that this number will not increase by much,” Hadi stated, adding, “But from what we are seeing … the devastation of this earthquake is really not giving us a lot of hope that this will be the end of it.”

Red Cross chief warns of health crisis in quake-hit Syria

Syria could face dangerous outbreaks of disease in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake if hundreds of thousands of displaced people do not get permanent housing soon, the Red Cross’ global chief said Thursday, as Syrians struggle to receive humanitarian aid amid the mounting crisis.

Jagan Chapagain, who is Secretary-General of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, stated families staying in makeshift shelters without adequate heating urgently need permanent housing.

“They are still living in very basic conditions in very, very cold school rooms,” he told The Associated Press, adding, “If this continues for a long period of time, then there will be health consequences.”

He spoke after returning from Aleppo, Syria’s largest city that for years witnessed some of the worst fighting of the country’s ongoing civil war. Aleppo was hit with a cholera outbreak in late 2022. The earthquake’s impact on access to housing, water, fuel, and other infrastructure could make another outbreak “possible,” he said, adding that the disaster also has been ruinous for Syrians’ mental health.

“If the conflict had broken their backs, I think this earthquake is breaking their spirit now,” Chapagain continued.

Turkey suffers $25bn direct damage from quakes: JP Morgan

Direct costs from the destruction of physical structures in Turkey from the devastating earthquakes on February 6 could amount to 2.5 percent of growth domestic product or $25bn, JPMorgan reported on Thursday.

The combined death toll from the quakes in Turkey and Syria has climbed to more than 41,000, and millions need humanitarian aid, with many survivors left homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.

“The earthquake in Turkey has led to a tragic loss of life and carries meaningful economic implications,” economist Fatih Akcelik wrote in a note to clients.

Quakes ‘deadliest natural disaster on NATO territory’: Alliance chief

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said the earthquakes in southeastern Turkey constituted the “deadliest natural disaster on the alliance territory” since it was founded in 1949.

Stoltenberg was speaking during a news conference next to Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu before visiting some of the earthquakes’ worst-hit areas.

NATO members states deployed thousands of emergency response personnel the day after the quakes, including search and rescue teams, doctors and seismic experts, the alliance’s chief stated.

Military aircraft from Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States were sent to Turkey to transport international aid, he said, adding that Albania, Canada and Germany provided financial aid.

He also added NATO plans to provide “tens of thousands of tents” to the country in the coming days and weeks.

Cavusoglu thanked Stoltenberg for the support and for NATO to be playing a “very active role” and specified that the shelters will first go to Iskenderun and Hatay.

Teen rescued from rubble 248 hours after quake in Turkey

Rescue workers have pulled alive a 17-year-old girl from the rubble of a collapsed building in the province of Kahramanmaras, 248 hours after the earthquake hit the area, according to state-run broadcaster TRT Haber.

Boy’s dramatic rescue after 228 hours in Turkey’s Antakya

Watch how 13-year-old Mustafa was rescued after spending 228 hours under the rubble of a collapsed building in Antakya, in Turkey’s Hatay province.

NATO chief in Turkey to visit quake-hit areas

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has arrived in the Turkish capital, Ankara, to visit quake-affected areas. Before that he is expected to meet Turkey’s top diplomat Mevlut Cavusoglu and then President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

They are likely to discuss shelters to be provided by NATO.

Stoltenberg is also likely to discuss Turkey’s approval for Finland and Sweden to become members of the military alliance – a request the two Nordic countries put forward in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey has accused the two countries of being lenient towards Kurdish groups deemed to be “terrorists”.

Hundreds of Syrians return home from quake-hit Turkey

At least 1,795 Syrians from the 10 Turkish provinces worst-hit by last week’s earthquakes have since crossed back into Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing between the countries, according to the check point’s spokesperson.

Many among them are refugees who were first displaced by Syria’s war. Northwest Syria, where Bab al-Hawa connects with Turkey, is controlled by rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

Death toll from quakes nears 42,000

At least 36,187 people have died in the devastating earthquakes in Turkey, officials say, and at least 5,800 people have died in Syria, pushing the overall death toll to 41,987.

The death toll from devastating earthquakes in Turkey has passed 36,000, the country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said in a statement on Thursday.

“The number of people killed in the earthquakes that took place in the Kahramanmaras province on February 6 currently stands at 36,187. As many as 108,068 people suffered injuries. Over 4,300 aftershocks have been recorded in the region since the first quake,” the statement reads.

The agency added that over 216,000 people had been evacuated from the disaster zone.

Pakistan PM visits Turkey, calls for others to step up

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has announced that he is flying to Turkey “with a message of unwavering solidarity and support for our Turkish brothers and sisters from the people and government of Pakistan”.

“True to the spirit of one nation living in two states, we consider their loss as ours,” he wrote on Twitter, also calling on the “world” to step forward with assistance.

More than 90 countries have sent aid and relief teams to Turkey to deal with the aftermath of last week’s earthquakes.

Mother, two children rescued in Turkey’s Antakya

A mother and two children have been rescued in the Turkish city of Antakya more than 228 hours after the twin earthquakes that devastated southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria.

Ela and her two children – Meysam and Ali – were pulled from the rubble of their apartment block, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, a 74-year-old woman and a 46-year-old woman were rescued in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, close to the epicentre of the quake.

Over 1,000 cross through al-Hawa crossing into Syria

Spokesperson for Syria’s Al Bab al-Hawa crossing has said 1,250 Syrians have come through the route under the new temporary visa offered to Syrians who have residence permits in the 10 quake-hit Turkish provinces.

Before the quake struck, almost all of the humanitarian aid for the more than four million people living in rebel-controlled areas was delivered from Turkey through the Bab al-Hawa crossing.

WHO says northwest Syria of ‘greatest concern’

The World Health Organization has revealed that it is particularly concerned over the welfare of people in northwestern Syria, a rebel-held region with little access to aid.

“It’s clear that the zone of greatest concern at the moment is the area of northwestern Syria,” WHO Health Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan told a press briefing in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The impact of the earthquake in areas of Syria controlled by the government is significant, but the services are there and there is access to those people,” Ryan said.

“We have to remember here that in Syria, we’ve had 10 years of war. The health system is amazingly fragile. People have been through hell,” he added.

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