Earthquake in Turkey and Syria worst disaster of the century, WHO
At least 39,000 people have been confirmed dead in Turkey and Syria since last week’s earthquake. UNICEF says the final death toll could turn out to be “an alarming figure”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria as the worst natural disaster in the region in the last hundred years.
“In the WHO European Region, we are witnessing the worst natural disaster in a century,” Hans Kluge, WHO director for Europe, said at a press conference. We are still trying to find out its exact magnitude. The actual damage caused by it is not known yet.
His statement comes at a time when hopes of finding more survivors of the earthquake are fading.
Turkey is among the 53 countries listed in the WHO’s European region, while neighboring Syria falls in its Eastern Mediterranean region. Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the death toll in his country has reached 35,418.
Syrian volunteer aid group Syria Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, says the death toll in opposition-held areas has reached 2,166. Meanwhile, the Syrian Ministry of Health in Damascus said that 1,414 people have been killed so far in government-held areas.
The latest figures bring the total death toll from the disaster to at least 39,000.
Earthquakes compared to atomic bombs
According to Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan described last week’s powerful earthquake as “as big as an atomic bomb” and said that 35,418 people had died in the southern region of the country.
This means that a total of at least 39,000 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria. United Nations estimates put the number at 50,000 or even higher
The Turkish president also said that millions of buildings have become uninhabitable due to the earthquake in southern Turkey and more than 2.2 million people have been displaced from the earthquake-affected areas.
At least seven million children are among the 26 million victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria early last week.
A total of about 26 million victims in the two neighboring countries include at least seven million children. In Turkey alone, which was more affected by this natural disaster than Syria, the number of such affected children is around 4.5 million.
Rescue efforts are still ongoing in Antioch
DW’s Julia Hahn reports from the southern Turkish city that aid workers are still struggling to reach some of the collapsed buildings in Antioch. The city was home to over 400,000 people.
He said, “The devastation caused by earthquakes here in Antioch is very high. This is unimaginable. Today, when we entered the city, we hardly saw any buildings standing. About 70 percent of Antioch is gone.”
A team from the Istanbul Fire Department said they would not give up on the search for survivors and continue their efforts to the end, no matter how slim the chances of people surviving.
However, the biggest problem, he said, is that many small roads are still inaccessible, preventing search and rescue teams from reaching many of the destroyed buildings.
Nine more survivors were found
At least nine more people were rescued from the rubble of earthquake-hit areas in Turkey on Tuesday. This has been done eight days after the worst earthquake.
A 65-year-old Syrian man and a young girl were rescued from the rubble of a building in the southern Turkish city of Antakya.
About 205 hours later, Ukrainian rescue workers pulled a woman alive from the ruins of a building in the southern Turkish province of Hata, CNN Turkey reported.
CNN Turk says that an 18-year-old man was also rescued from the rubble of a building in southern Turkey about 198 hours after the earthquake.
Shortly before that, rescue workers had pulled two brothers alive from the ruins of an apartment block in the neighboring province of Kahramanmaras. According to Turkish media reports, three other women were also pulled out alive on Tuesday