More than 11,200 people have died following two massive earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.
As of Wednesday 3 pm, Turkish officials said 8,574 people have died in the country. It’s unclear the figures from Syria, but so far the believed confirmed number is 2,662. Sadly the figures are rising as the hour’s pass.
More than 60,000 people have been reported to be injured in both countries, and the figures keep increasing.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said 13 million of the country’s 85 million were affected in some way and has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces in order to manage the response.
Erdoğan said on Tuesday that 70 countries had offered help in search and rescue operations and that Türkiye planned to open up hotels in the tourism hub of Antalya, to the west, to temporarily house people affected.
There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with WHO officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.
WHO warned that up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake and urged nations to rush help to the disaster zone.
The quakes, which took place nine hours apart and measured 7.8 in Türkiye and 7.5 in Syria on the Richter scale, destroyed at least 6,000 buildings, many while people were still inside them. Rescue efforts are continuing — The Turkish government has said some 60,000 search and rescue staff and support personnel currently are working in the earthquake zone so far — and countries around the world have pledged aid, but emergency workers in both countries say they are completely overwhelmed.
The quake affected provinces of southern Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Adıyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis and Malatya and southeastern Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, and Gaziantep, according to Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) with more than 285 aftershocks have struck since the quakes.
Rescues teams have been working nonstop since the quakes but face challenges with freezing cold temperatures in the evenings and early hours of the morning and each hour pass the teams fight against the clock to save anyone trapped under the rubble.
Across social media images and videos have been shared, and images of apartments block complete flatten moments of hope have been given when the rescue teams have been able to pull young children and people from the rubble.