Death toll of devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkey surpasses 41,000

February 14, 2023

The death toll of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria has surpassed 41,000, and the hope of finding more survivors is dimming.

As of Tuesday, there were over 35,000 dead in Turkey and another 5,800 reported dead in Syria.

Earthquake death toll rises

At least nine people were miraculously saved Tuesday, more than a week after the earthquakes struck, including two young brothers, aged 17 and 21, who were pulled from a collapsed apartment building in southern Turkey's Kahramanmaras province.

The day before, a young girl was rescued after being trapped for 178 hours.

Cities throughout southern Turkey and northern Syria were leveled when consecutive earthquakes struck Monday, February 6.

“We are facing one of the greatest natural disasters not only in our country but also in the history of humanity,” Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan said.

Rescue effort phasing out

The death toll is so high, victims in cities like Atankya are being buried in mass graves as the rescue effort turns to helping the thousands of displaced suffering in the bitter cold.

“People are suffering a lot. We applied to receive a tent, aid, or something, but up to now we didn’t receive anything,” said Hassan Saimoua, a refugee staying in the Turkish city of Gaziantep.

President Biden had directed the U.S. Agency for International Development to help with the search and rescue effort in the quake's immediate aftermath, and his administration pledged to help "in the days, weeks, and months ahead."

Assad cooperating

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has agreed to open borders in his country's devastated northwestern region to U.N. aid workers.

The war-torn region is controlled by rebels opposed to Assad's regime.

"President al-Assad affirmed the need for bringing in the urgent aid to all areas in Syria, including those that are subjected to occupation and the dominance of the armed terrorist groups," Syria's state-run media said.

The decision was applauded by the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who cited the urgency of "delivering food, health, nutrition, protection, shelter, winter supplies and other lifesaving supplies to all the millions of people affected."

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