Facts about Türkiye, Syria quake: Death toll tops 28,000, int'l aid pour in

(Xinhua) 15:29, February 12, 2023

ANKARA/DAMASCUS, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The following are the latest facts about quake-hit Türkiye and Syria.


Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay announced late Saturday that the country's death toll from Monday's earthquakes has climbed to 24,617, bringing the total fatalities with neighboring Syria to over 28,000, with tens of thousands injured.


Search and rescue efforts in 10 quake-hit provinces of Türkiye have now begun to turn to debris removal on the sixth day of the disaster. Rescue teams from across Türkiye and around the world were still trying to find survivors in the rubble of toppled buildings and pulled them out against all odds. However, with casualties soaring, few were pulled out of the rubble on Saturday.

Chinese rescuers have successfully rescued at least four survivors so far. An 82-member Chinese rescue team arrived in Türkiye on Wednesday to join earthquake relief efforts in the country. Members of the Blue Sky Rescue Team and other Chinese civil relief squads were also in Türkiye to join the international rescue work.

At least 160,000 people, including foreign teams, were on the field for search and rescue efforts, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.

An Armenian delegation with five trucks of aid has entered Türkiye through the Alican Border Gate in the eastern province of Igdir, which opened for the first time in 30 years, the state-run Anadolu News Agency of Türkiye reported Saturday.

The World Health Organization (WHO) brought 35 tons of relief aid to the quake-hit Aleppo city in northern Syria on Saturday as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reached the city and visited some hospitalized people, shelters where displaced people are staying, and damaged areas.


In a statement, the Turkish Medical Association warned about infectious diseases that may occur after the earthquake. Damage to infrastructure such as electricity, water, and sewerage increases the risk of water- and food-borne diseases, the statement said.

Addressing the criticism that the quake response was not swift enough, Erdogan said it was impossible to get prepared for a calamity like the earthquakes that struck the country on Monday.

Speaking to reporters during his Syria tour, Ghebreyesus said that easing the U.S. sanctions on Syria within the next 180 days would give a window to bring more emergency supplies and support.

On Thursday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a so-called six-month sanctions exemption for Syria-bound humanitarian aid, saying the U.S. sanctions in Syria "will not stand in the way" of life-saving efforts. 

(Web editor: Xian Jiangnan, Sheng Chuyi)


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