Turkey-Syria Earthquakes: Death Toll Reaches 8,700 as Rescuers Warn Time is Running Out


Source: BBC / Reuters. Rescuers are desperately searching for survivors in southern Turkey and northern Syria after two devastating earthquakes of 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude struck 12 hours apart on Monday.

More than 8,700 people have been killed, but there are warnings the death toll could continue to surge as rescuers find more victims in the rubble.

The death toll in Turkey has risen to 6,234, according to the country’s disaster agency.

It is difficult to verify the number in Syria, but its state media say about 2,500 people have been killed.

About 380,000 people have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, with others huddling in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centres.

Turkey’s disaster management agency said it had 11,342 reports of collapsed buildings, of which 5,775 had been confirmed. Turkey’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure said that overnight 3,400 people took shelter in trains being used as emergency accommodation.

As search efforts continue into a second freezing-cold night, time is running out for rescuers to find survivors under the rubble.

Relatives of victims who lived in collapsed buildings have joined frantic rescue efforts in one of the worst-hit Turkish cities, using pickaxes and crowbars.

Some anguished families have said rescue services took too long to respond in some areas.

Search efforts have continued for a second freezing-cold night – time is running out for rescuers to find survivors under the rubble

Dramatic footage has emerged of a family of six being pulled alive from the rubble in the Syrian city of Idlib.

Some international aid is reaching Syria but access is limited because of damaged roads.

Following an international appeal for help, Turkey’s President Erdogan said 45 countries had offered support.

National governments of many countries – including the UK, the US, China and Russia – are providing aid, including search and rescue experts.

In the UK, the British Red Cross was one of the country’s first major charities to launch its appeal. It is working in conjunction with the Turkish Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, and is already on the ground “providing urgent support during these critical hours” and evacuating people to safety.

Oxfam is another large charity to have launched an appeal. It said it would focus on providing “protection, water and sanitation, shelter and food”, while also assessing the longer-term needs of people in the aftermath of so much destruction.

Organisations including Save the Children, Unicef and Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) have all launched appeals following the earthquake.