Rescuers pulled a survivor from earthquake rubble on Sunday, six days after a deadly earthquake struck parts of Syria and Turkey. The death toll exceeded 28,000 and is believed to rise further.
Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said that his administration would start to rebuild the destroyed homes within weeks after the most devastating earthquake since 1939. He said that hundreds of thousands of buildings were wrecked.
In Syria, the disaster struck the rebel-held northwest of the country. As a result, some people lost their homes once again after being displaced by the deadly civil war lasting since 2011.
The European Union’s envoy to Syria urged Damascus not to politicize the process of distributing the humanitarian aid coming from around the world, rejecting accusations that the bloc had failed to provide sufficient help.
“It is absolutely unfair to be accused of not providing aid when actually we have constantly been doing exactly that for over a decade and we are doing so much more even during the earthquake crisis,” Dan Stoenescu, the EU envoy to Syria told Reuters.
Today in #Beirut EU 🇪🇺 member states together with🇦🇺🇨🇦🇯🇵🇳🇴🇨🇭🇬🇧🇺🇸 had a meeting with @UNEnvoySyria on coordinating a faster & better humanitarian response to the #earthquake in #Syria. We are responding to @UN 🇺🇳 calls & also reiterate our support for @GeirOPedersen’s efforts. pic.twitter.com/kNABoZrQVQ
— Dr Dan Stoenescu (@DanStoenescuEU) February 11, 2023
In Turkey’s province of Hatay, a Romanian rescue team carried a 35-year-old man named Mustafa from a destroyed building about 149 hours after the quake as reported by the CNN Turk TV broadcaster.
In response to the tragic earthquake in 🇹🇷 Türkiye,
🇵🇱 Heavy Search & Rescue Team #HUSAR #Poland, which is 🇺🇳 #INSARAG-certified, is tirelessly operating non-stop since yesterday to save as many lives as possible in the Turkish city of Besni ‼️ 🧑🏼🚒🐕🦺🚒
📷credits: @KGPSP pic.twitter.com/FlG07uSd37
— PL in UN Geneva (@PLMissionGeneva) February 8, 2023
“His health is good, he was talking,” one of the rescuers said. “He was saying, ‘Get me out of here quickly, I’ve got claustrophobia’.”
Reports from the human rights group volunteers indicate the presence of armed looters in the city of Antakya.
Police and soldiers are on high alert to maintain order and distribute humanitarian aid.
İlk günden bu yana durmadan, yorulmadan Hatay’da çadır kurma çalışmalarına aralıksız devam eden Mehmetçik, 25 çadır kentte toplam 3 bin 500 çadırın kurulmasına katkıda bulundu.
Türkiye Tek Yürek 🇹🇷 pic.twitter.com/LajglLmuiH
— T.C. Millî Savunma Bakanlığı (@tcsavunma) February 11, 2023
The Turkish government announced that about 80,000 people are currently hospitalized, and around 1 million have to stay in temporary shelters.
W bazie 🇵🇱👨🚒z Team Leader @eu_echo Pekka Tiainen, rozmawiano o działaniach rat. 🇵🇱grupy oraz możliwości wsparcia przez #HUSARPoland, Reception and Departure Centre (RDC), tworzonego na lotnisku w #Gaziantep a także planach na kolejne dni. @MSWiA_GOV_PL
— Andrzej Bartkowiak (@ABartkowiak_PSP) February 11, 2023
As the infrastructure is in ruins people fear the spread of disease.
“If people don’t die here under the rubble, they’ll die from injuries. If not, they will die from infection,” said Gizem, a social worker. “There is no toilet here. It is a big problem.”
U.N. aid chief Martin Griffiths said it was the worst catastrophe for the region within the last 100 years, saying the death toll would at least double.
What I saw today in #Türkiye was devastating.
What were once homes, filled with families and memories, now lay contorted and tangled.
Our thoughts are with those affected and we will continue to support in any way we can. pic.twitter.com/bhMDR1oEGN
— Martin Griffiths (@UNReliefChief) February 11, 2023
He praised Turkey’s response to the crisis saying in most cases of natural disasters the victims are disappointed by early relief efforts.
The earthquake hit Turkey as President Erdogan faces a decisive election scheduled for June. Before the disaster, his popularity was in decline because of inflation and a slumping Turkish currency.
Some affected by the earthquake and opposition have accused the government of slow response to the crisis, indicating that the army should be brought to the relief of the victims much sooner than in the case of the 1999 quake.
Among those detained Saturday was Mehmet Ertan Akay, the builder of a collapsed complex in Gaziantep, who was charged with involuntary manslaughter and violation of public construction law. https://t.co/DoiRpO0sy9
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) February 12, 2023
As many as 95 people were detained on the order of the prosecutors investigating the soundness of buildings that collapsed, the state news agency Anadolu said.
The earthquake killed 24,617 in Turkey, and more than 3,500 in Syria, where the death toll was not updated for two days.