Amid the cold and devastation, Rescue teams in Turkey and northern Syria continued their work on Tuesday waiting for international help after the deadly series of earthquakes that killed nearly 4,900 people.
The number of victims rose to 3,381 in Turkeyaccording to the latest official balance of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
In Syriathe earthquake caused 1,509 dead and 3,548 woundedaccording to the latest data from the government and first aid workers in the rebel areas.
Sometimes with bare hands, rescuers continued the dramatic search for survivors into the night, braving cold, rain or snow and the risk of further landslides.
In Hatay, southern Turkey, Rescuers were able to rescue a 7-year-old girl alive that had been blocked under a mountain of rubble.
“Where is my mother?” she said in the arms of a lifeguard, wearing dust-stained pink pajamas.
Bad weather conditions in the Anatolian region complicate rescue efforts and darken the prospects for survivors, who warm themselves in tents or on makeshift bonfires.
international first aid
International aid to Turkey should start arriving on Tuesday with the first rescue teams from places like France or Qatar.
american president Joe Biden promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan “all the necessary help, whatever it may be.”
The French team must travel particularly to Kahramanmaras, at the epicenter of the earthquake, a region that is difficult to access and buried under snow.
Two US detachments with 79 first responders each were preparing to move to the scene on Monday, the White House said.
China announced on Tuesday the shipment of aid of 6.9 million dollars, which will include specialized teams for relief in urban environments, medical equipment and emergency supplies, according to a Beijing state media.
According to Erdoğan, 45 countries offered help.
Instead, the call launched by the Syrian government received for the moment the response of its Russian ally, which promised relief teams “in the next few hours”, in addition to 300 Russian soldiers who are already in place to help in the rescue.
The UN also reacted, but insisted that aid must reach “all Syrians throughout the territory”also in the part that is not under government control.
Taking advantage of the chaos caused by the shaking, a twenty fighters allegedly from the Islamic State group (IS) escaped from a military prison in Rajo, controlled by pro-Turkish rebels.
The balances on both sides of the border have not stopped increasing and, taking into account the magnitude of the destruction, they may follow the same trend.
In Turkey alone, the authorities counted almost 5,000 collapsed buildings.
In addition, the radical drop in temperatures carries an additional risk of hypothermia for the injured and those trapped in the rubble.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it feared the worst and predicted “balance sheets eight times higher.”
During Monday, up to 185 aftershocks were registered, in addition to the two main shocks: one of 7.8 in the middle of the night (04H17 local) and the other of magnitude 7.5 at noon.
Aftershocks continued into the early hours of Tuesday. The strongest, of magnitude 5.5, occurred at 6:13 local time (3:13 GMT) 9 km southeast of Gölbasi (south).
The authorities set up gyms, schools and mosques to house the survivors. But for fear of new earthquakes, many inhabitants preferred to spend the night in the open.
“Everyone is afraid,” said Mustafa Koyuncu, a 55-year-old man in Sanliurfa (southeastern Turkey) who spent the night with his wife and five children in the family car.
It is the largest earthquake in Turkey since August 17, 1999, which killed 17,000 people, a thousand of them in Istanbul.
The Turkish president decreed a seven-day national mourning and the closure of schools for a week.
(With information from AFP)
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