Turkey earthquake death count surpasses 12,000 as the extensive extent of the catastrophe reduced thousands of structures to rubble and left an undetermined number of individuals trapped, overwhelming relief efforts already hindered by the harsh, icy weather.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged “deficiencies” on Wednesday following criticism of his administration’s handling of the devastating earthquake that has claimed over 15,000 lives in Turkey and Syria.
The large scale of the disaster that destroyed thousands of buildings and trapped an unknown number of individuals has overwhelmed relief efforts already challenged by freezing temperatures.
Those who have survived the disaster are struggling to find food and shelter, and in some cases, are forced to watch helplessly as their loved ones desperately call for help before going silent under the rubble.
Semire Coban, a kindergarten teacher in Turkey’s Hatay, expressed her concerns about her family members who are currently trapped in the rubble of the recent earthquake. “My nephew, my sister-in-law, and her sister are in the ruins and they have not shown any signs of life.
Despite our efforts to communicate with them, there has been no response. We are still waiting for help as it has already been 48 hours,” she stated. Despite the dire situation, rescue workers have been successful in finding survivors amidst the debris, however, the death toll continues to rise.
As public discontent grew, President Erdogan visited one of the areas hardest hit by the quake, Kahramanmaras, and admitted that there were shortcomings in the response effort. “There’s no denying that there have been issues.
It’s impossible to be fully prepared for a disaster of this scale,” he acknowledged. Additionally, it has been reported that Twitter was not accessible on Turkish mobile networks due to technical difficulties.
Rescue Workers Saved Children
As the rescue efforts near the 72-hour mark, which is considered the prime period for saving lives by disaster experts, the chances of finding survivors are becoming increasingly slim. However, on Wednesday, rescuers were able to pull children from beneath a collapsed building in the severely affected province of Hatay in Turkey, where large portions of towns have been destroyed.
Rescuer Alperen Cetinkaya described the moment they heard voices coming from the rubble, “All of a sudden, we heard voices and thanks to the excavator, we were able to immediately detect the voices of three people at the same time.” He expressed his optimism for finding more survivors, stating “The chances of getting people out of here alive are very high.”
Turkey Earthquake death count Increases
According to officials and medical personnel, the death toll from Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake has reached 15,383, with 12,391 people confirmed dead in Turkey and 2,992 in Syria. Experts fear that this number will continue to climb. In response, the European Union is planning to host a donor conference in March to gather international aid for both Syria and Turkey.
EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen stressed the urgency of the situation on Twitter, saying “We are now in a race against time to save lives together.” She added, “No one should be left alone during a tragedy like this that affects a population.”
Syria Calls for Assistance from the EU
The matter of providing aid to Syria is a complex issue, and the sanctioned government in Damascus has made an official request for help from the European Union, according to the bloc’s Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic. The country has already been devastated by a decade of civil war and aerial bombardment by Syrian-Russian forces, resulting in the destruction of hospitals, a crumbling economy, and widespread shortages of electricity, fuel, and water.
The European Commission is urging EU member countries to respond to Syria’s request for medical supplies and food, while also closely monitoring the situation to ensure that any aid is not redirected by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, Lenarcic stated.
International Community Offers Aid
Several nations including the United States, China, and the Gulf States have pledged to offer assistance in the aftermath of the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria. Teams of rescuers and relief supplies have already arrived. The European Union was quick to send rescue teams to Turkey, but initially only provided minimal aid to Syria due to EU sanctions imposed on the government of President Bashar al-Assad in 2011.
The Turkey-Syria border is located in one of the world’s most active seismic zones. The Turkey earthquake that occurred on Monday was the largest Turkey has experienced since the 1933 quake in eastern Erzincan province which resulted in 33,000 deaths. In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake caused the loss of over 17,000 lives.