rescue teams in Turkey and Syria They face “crucial” hours this Wednesday to find survivors among the rubble of the powerful earthquake on Monday, which It has already left more than 8,300 dead between the two countries.
In the midst of the cold and devastation, the rescuers, aided by the first emergency teams from other countries, they fight against the clock to find people alive after the earthquake of magnitude 7.8 on Monday at 04:17, with an epicenter in the southeast of Turkey.
The hopeful image of a newborn rescued alive from the rubble in Syria contrasts with the devastation of a father in Turkey holding his dead daughter’s hand trapped between two concrete blocks.
Turkey’s interior minister warned Tuesday that the next 48 hours would be “crucial” to find survivors of the quake, which led Ankara to declare seven days of national mourning.
Total, The number of deaths stands at 8,364 people at the momentwith some provisional balances of 5,894 deaths in Turkey and 2,470 in Syria (1,250 in the territory controlled by Damascus and 1,220 in the rebel areas).
In Syria, the balance must “rise considerably because hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubble”indicated the “White Helmets” (civil protection volunteers) from the rebel areas.
It is the worst earthquake Turkey has experienced since 1999, when a shock killed 17,000 people, a thousand of them in Istanbul.
In the Syrian town of Jindires, lifeguards were able to rescue a newborn girl among the rubble of the building.
The baby was still attached by the umbilical cord to her mother, deceased like the rest of the family members.
“We heard a noise and we dug (…), we cleaned the place and we found this little girl, praise God,” he told the AFP Khalil Sawadi, close to the family.
Instead, the rescue came late for Irmak, a 15-year-old teenager. In silence, her father Mesur Hancer holds the limp hand of the girl trapped in the remains of a block in Kahramanmaras (southeastern Turkey).
Located at the epicenter of the earthquake, Aid has yet to reach this hard-to-reach city of over a million people.
“Where is the State? Where is? (…) Two days have passed and we haven’t seen anyone, ”Ali despaired, still hoping to find his brother and his nephew alive trapped in the rubble of his apartment.
the devastating earthquake was followed by numerous aftershockssome very powerful, which caused panic in many survivors, afraid to return to their homes.
In the Turkish city of Gaziantep, many decided to take refuge in the airport. “Right now our lives are really marked by uncertainty,” said Zahide Sutcu, who fled his home with his two children.
In total, the World Health Organization estimates that 23 million people were “exposed” to the consequences of the earthquake“including five million vulnerable people”.
On Tuesday the first foreign rescue teams began to arrive. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who decreed a state of emergency for a period of three months in ten affected provinces, indicated that 45 countries offered help.
The European Union mobilized 1,185 first responders and 79 tracking dogs for Turkey and is working with its humanitarian partners in Syria to fund relief operations.
On your part, The United States expects the arrival of two teams of rescuers this Wednesday in Turkey and also works with local NGOs in Syria to help the victims.
The Secretary of State, Anthony Blinkeninsisted that “these funds will go to the entire Syrian people, not to the regime” in Damascus led by Bashar al-Assad, whose calls for help have only received a response so far from his ally Russia.
The head of operations of the United States Agency for Development Assistance (USAID), Stephen Allen, said from Ankara that all his “humanitarian support is directed right now to northwestern Syria.”
The quake destroyed the Bab al Hawa border crossingthrough which almost all the humanitarian aid from Turkey to the rebel areas of Syria passes, according to the UN.
The quake unleashed a wave of solidarity from China to Ukraine, via the United Arab Emirates, which pledged $100 million in aid.
Even Saudi Arabia, without diplomatic relations with Damascus since 2012, announced the launch of an airlift to help the affected populations of the two countries.
(With information from AFP)
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