Sunday, March 26, 2023

Quake death toll over 7,200 as Turkiye, Syria search for survivors

Search teams and international aid poured into Turkiye and Syria on Tuesday as rescuers working in freezing temperatures and sometimes using their bare hands dug through the remains of buildings flattened by a powerful earthquake. The death toll soared above 7,200 and was still expected to rise.
But with the damage spread over a wide area, the massive relief operation often struggled to reach devastated towns, and voices that had been crying out from the rubble fell silent.
Monday’s magnitude 7.8 quake and a cascade of strong aftershocks cut a swath of destruction that stretched hundreds of kilometers (miles) across southeastern Turkiye and neighbouring Syria. The shaking toppled thousands of buildings and heaped more misery on a region shaped by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.
Unstable piles of metal and concrete made the search efforts perilous, while freezing temperatures made them ever more urgent, as worries grew about how long trapped survivors could last in the cold.
The scale of the suffering — and the accompanying rescue effort — were staggering.
More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkiye alone, and some 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, said Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay. They huddled in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centers, while others spent the night outside in blankets gathering around fires.
Teams from nearly 30 countries around the world headed for Turkiye or Syria.


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