Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Turkey-Syria earthquake live updates: Death toll rises to over 37,000

Search operation continues for the possible survivors in quake-hit southeast Turkey and northern Syria. At least 37,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria.

Nearly nine million Syrians affected by earthquake: UN

Nearly nine million people in Syria were affected by last weeks’ devastating earthquake that hit both Syria and Turkey, the United Nations has said in a statement as it launched a $400m funding appeal to help the situation there.

“Humanitarian agencies will need $397.6m to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs over the next three months,” the statement added.


Woman rescued 205 hours after Turkey quake

A Ukrainian rescue team has pulled a woman alive from the rubble of a building in the southern Turkish province of Hatay, some 205 hours since the first earthquake, CNN Turk reported.

This takes the number of survivors rescued on Tuesday to seven.


UN launches $397m Syria appeal

The UN has launched an appeal for $397.6m to help victims in Syria, with nearly nine million people affected by the earthquakes.

A statement said the money was needed “to respond to the most pressing humanitarian needs over the next three months”.

Antonio Guterres, the world body’s chief, stated a similar appeal for Turkey was in the “final stages”.


First UN aid trucks cross into northwest Syria through Bab al-Salam

Ten International Organization for Migration trucks carrying humanitarian assistance have passed through the Bab al-Salam crossing into northwestern Syria from Turkey, a spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has told Al Jazeera.

The passage marked the first time a UN convoy has used the crossing to deliver aid since its closure in 2020. An 11th truck is expected to pass through the crossing shortly.

Another 26 inter-agency trucks went through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, until now the only entry point for UN humanitarian aid to directly reach people in opposition-held northwestern Syria.


Damages from Turkey quake estimated to surpass $20bn

Damages from deadly earthquakes in Turkey will probably exceed $20bn, according to the risk modelling company Verisk.

Only a fraction of the damages – likely more than $1bn – is covered by insurance, Verisk announced.

Earthquakes are relatively common in Turkey, and despite regulations to build to protect against earthquakes, results have been “mixed”, Verisk said.

Structures compliant with building codes “have performed relatively well, while many others have experienced significant damage and collapse during earthquakes”, it added.


A woman rescued from rubble in Turkey 203 hours after quake

A woman has been rescued from the rubble of a building in the southern Turkish city of Hatay, some 203 hours after a devastating earthquake struck the region, according to Turkish media.


Relief effort a marathon: Turkish Red Crescent

Kerem Kinik, president of the Turkish Red Crescent, told Al Jazeera the relief efforts would continue for a minimum of 18 months.

Kinik noted that international assistance would be needed in what he described as a marathon operation.

In the short term, Kinik stated there continued to be a shortage of shelter and tents and warned of the risk for the spread of communicable diseases amid the challenging conditions.


WHO says Turkey quake Europe’s worst natural disaster in ‘a century’

The World Health Organisation’s director for Europe, which includes Turkey, says the earthquakes are the “worst natural disaster” in 100 years in the region.

“We are witnessing the worst natural disaster in the WHO European region for a century and we are still learning about its magnitude,” Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, told a press conference.

Syria is a member of the WHO’s neighbouring Eastern Mediterranean region.


UN says over 7 million children impacted by the quakes

More than seven million children have been affected by the massive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the UN children’s agency says, voicing fear that “many thousands” more had died.

“While the total number of children affected remains unclear, 4.6 million children live in the 10 provinces of Turkey hit by the earthquakes, and more than 2.5 million children are affected in Syria,” read a UNICEF report.

“Many families have lost their homes and are now living in temporary shelters, often in freezing conditions and with snow and rain adding to their suffering,” it added.

Access to safe water and sanitation is also a major concern, as are the health needs of the affected population.


Turkey’s death toll rises to nearly 32,000

Turkey’s disaster agency announced that 31,974 people died in the earthquakes.

It added that nearly 195,962 victims have been evacuated from the quakes-hit zone in southern Turkey.


Over 8,000 people in Turkey pulled alive from debris: Erdogan

More than 8,000 people have been pulled out alive from rubble in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, expressing his gratitude to all countries that came forward to provide support after the twin deadly earthquakes.

He also stated a large number of over 81,000 people injured in the earthquakes have been discharged from hospitals, state-run Anadolu agency reported.

“I would like to thank once again to all the friendly and sisterly countries that have been collecting aid for our nation day and night, supporting our search and rescue efforts with their teams, and not forgetting us in their prayers,” Erdogan added.

Turkey will never forget “the friendship you showed on this dark day,” he continued.


Search operations in northwest Syria about to end: White Helmets

Search operations for more survivors beneath the rubble are about to end in Syria’s opposition-controlled northwest, the head of the White Helmets says.

“It’s about to come to a close. The indications we have are that there are not any (survivors) but we are trying to do our final checks and on all sites,” stated Raed al-Saleh.

The group also added they were also collecting the names of the missing people in the enclave.


Two people rescued in Turkey nearly 198 hours after quakes

Chances of finding survivors more than one week after the deadly quakes are shrinking fast with the UN saying that the focus is switching from rescue operations to shelter, food and schooling.

Yet, rare stories of survival are still emerging.

A 17-year-old and an unidentified man were rescued alive from the rubble of an apartment block in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, nearly 198 hours since the first earthquake struck areas in Turkey and Syria.

It showed rescue workers carrying the two people, strapped onto stretchers, to waiting ambulances.


White Helmets shocked at UN move to allow Assad say in aid deliveries

Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets which operates in opposition-controlled northwest Syria, has slammed the UN’s decision giving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a say in sanctioning their aid deliveries through border crossings with Turkey, stating it gave him “free political gain”.

“This is shocking and we are at loss at how the UN is behaving,” al-Saleh told Reuters, echoing sentiment among many Syrians in the opposition-held enclave.

His comment came a day after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres noted Assad had agreed to allow UN aid deliveries to the area through two border crossings from Turkey for three months.


Death toll crosses 37,000

More than 37,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria one week ago.

  • Turkey: At least 31,643 people have died in the country’s southeast, according to the Turkish disaster management authority, AFAD.
  • Rebel-held northwest Syria: More than 4,400 people have died in this region, according to the UN relief agency, OCHA.
  • Government-held Syria: At least 1,414 people have died in areas controlled by al-Assad’s forces, according to health officials.

US: Earthquake shows why there must be additional humanitarian aid crossings into Syria

Last week’s catastrophic earthquake demonstrated how critical it is to get more humanitarian aid crossings into Syria, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.

The single crossing from Turkey approved to transport UN aid, the Bab al-Hawa crossing, had been inaccessible for days after the earthquake.

Price stated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his close ally Russia should forget politics and do what is right.

“When the one crossing that Russia would agree to in the Security Council was made inaccessible after the earthquake, it was a stark reminder to the rest of the world of the need for redundancies,” Price added.

In response to news that Assad finally agreed to open two crossings into Syria, according to a new statement by UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday, Price noted he hopes the Syrian president “is serious about this.”

“It hasn’t been only Russia that’s been opposed to this in the past,” Price said.

“If the regime is serious about this, and if the regime is willing to put those words into action, that would be a good thing for the Syrian people,” he added.


Syria agrees to open 2 border crossings for quake aid: UN

The United Nations welcomed President Bashar al-Assad’s decision on Monday to open “the two crossing points of Bab Al-Salam and Al Ra’ee from Turkey to north-west Syria for an initial period of three months to allow for the timely delivery of humanitarian aid.”

“Opening these crossing points — along with facilitating humanitarian access, accelerating visa approvals and easing travel between hubs — will allow more aid to go in, faster,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

The delivery of urgent supplies to quake-hit rebel-held areas in northern and northwestern Syria has been complicated by a long-running war between opposition groups and the Syrian government.

Starting last Thursday, the UN was able to get the first aid convoy into Syria from Turkey since the earthquake struck, through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing. Since then, additional UN aid convoys entered via the same border crossing.


UN calls for ‘much more support’ for Syria

Kelly Clements, deputy high commissioner of the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), says last week’s earthquakes have caused “complete devastation” in parts of Syria.

“In some places, it just looks like the earthquake took a knife through the middle of a building and knocked out half of it,” she told Al Jazeera from Aleppo.

“There’s rubble on the streets. There are people, families and children that are in parks. There are tents in multiple locations, and it’s cold, really cold,” Clements continued, adding, “Shelter remains the largest single need right at the moment for the many people that are displaced, but there is also large, deep trauma now with families who have experienced year after year of crisis here.”

Clements stated UNHCR was “seriously underfunded”, warning that the agency would need “much more support to be able to get to places like Aleppo and other parts of this country, given the large number of people that are displaced are in the northwest”.


Over 41,000 buildings destroyed, uninhabitable in Turkey after earthquakes

More than 41,000 buildings in Turkey’s 10 provinces mostly affected by the earthquakes have been completely destroyed or uninhabitable, Turkish Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murat Kurum said on Monday.

“In 10 provinces affected by the disaster, we have identified 41,791 buildings that either have already collapsed or should be immediately demolished or are in a state of disrepair,” Kurum told a briefing.

The minister added that the full assessment of the state of buildings in the provinces is expected to be completed by the end of the week.


At least 19,300 people hospitalized in Turkey after earthquake: Health ministry

At least 19,300 earthquake victims are under treatment in hospitals in Turkey, according to Turkey’s Health Ministry.

They include 3,636 people who are in intensive care units, the ministry reported Monday.

At least 8,851 patients had to have surgery, according to the ministry, and some of them are already discharged.


10-year-old girl rescued alive 7 days after Turkey’s earthquake

A 10-year-old girl named Ayca Ceplin was rescued alive Monday in the 185th hour of Turkey’s earthquake.

Ayca was pulled from the rubble of the Ebrar apartment complex in Kahramanmaras.


6 UN trucks arrive in Syria through Turkey border

Six additional United Nations trucks carrying aid and relief from the World Food Programme crossed into northwestern Syria on Monday, according to a spokesperson from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The trucks carried food and non-food items (NFIs), Madevi Sun-Suon told CNN.

A total of 58 interagency UN trucks carrying aid have crossed into northwestern Syria through the Bab Al-Hawa crossing from Turkey since Thursday, according to information provided by Sun-Suon.


Turkish government arrests contractors connected to buildings that collapsed in quake

Turkish authorities have arrested a number of Turkish contractors and detained many after allegedly being connected to quake constructions in Turkey over the weekend and Monday, after two major earthquakes struck Turkey in early February.

During his visit to Diyarbakir on Monday, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said in a presser that in “all earthquake-affected places, the public prosecutor’s office launched judicial investigation. In terms of law, all evidence is evaluated and we are identifying the names of the people responsible for these buildings.”

Bozdag pointed out that “some of the buildings are 30 years old, some are older, some are 20, and some were built in the near future, so our municipalities have this information,” and added that “audits are subject to the evaluation of this information, and our public prosecutors carry out investigations to determine who is involved in these constructions.”

Bozdag also mentioned that in Diyarbakir alone, “the judicial process against 32 people has been started.”

According to Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu, Malatya prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 31 people on Monday over collapsed buildings in the city.

Anadolu news agency also reported last Saturday that Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the destroyed buildings, and as a result of that, 31 people were arrested on Monday.

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