catastrophic death toll earthquake that hit turkey The death toll in Syria rose to more than 15,000 as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of collapsed houses in the devastated area, Turkey’s disaster management agency said on Thursday.
Turkey Syria Earthquake Live Updates
Turkey has confirmed 12,391 deaths after the early Monday morning quake and a series of aftershocks brought down thousands of buildings in southeastern Turkey, the agency said.
A further 2,902 people were reported killed on the other side of the Syrian border.
Rescuers continued to pull the living out of damaged buildings, but for three days since the quake, cold temperatures had dampened hopes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Residents on a visit to the particularly hard-hit Hatay province on Wednesday criticized the government’s efforts, saying rescuers were slow to arrive.
Erdogan, who faces a tough re-election campaign in May, responded to growing frustration by acknowledging problems with the emergency response to Monday’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake but saying winter weather was a factor . The quake also destroyed the runway at Hatay Airport, further disrupting rescue efforts.
Read it here: Turkey: Earthquake survivors sleep overnight in cars, tents as temperatures drop to -5°C
“It is impossible to prepare for such a catastrophe,” Erdogan said. “We will not leave any citizen alone.” He also hit back at critics, saying “dishonorable people” were spreading “lies” about the government’s actions and defamation”.
Teams from more than two dozen countries joined tens of thousands of local first responders. But the scale and scope of the devastation caused by the quake and its powerful aftershocks is such that many people are still waiting to be rescued.
Experts say the window of survival for those trapped under the rubble or without access to basic necessities is rapidly closing. At the same time, they say it is too soon to give up hope.
“The first 72 hours are considered critical,” said Steven Godby, a natural disaster expert at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom. “The average survival rate was 74 percent within 24 hours, 22 percent after 72 hours, and 6 percent by day five.”