Ankara/Damascus: The death toll from Monday’s devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has surpassed 11,000, according to data released by the authorities and rescuers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during his visit to the worst-hit region on Wednesday that a total of 8,574 people in the country have died from the massive earthquakes, Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier, the country’s disaster management agency had said more than 40,000 people have been injured.
In Syria, at least 1,250 were killed and 2,054 injured, said the Syrian Health Ministry. Media reports also cited rescue workers as saying that at least 1,280 were killed and over 2,600 injured in the opposition-held region in Syria.
A 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey’s southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time on Monday, followed by a 6.4 magnitude quake a few minutes later in the country’s southern province of Gaziantep and a 7.6 magnitude earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time in the Kahramanmaras Province.
Rescuers were racing against time and bitter cold to find survivors in Kahramanmaras, the epicentre of two huge and deadly earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday.
Many countries and global aid agencies are offering rescue teams and relief supplies to the quake-hit regions.
An 82-member Chinese rescue team arrived at Adana Airport on Wednesday to assist in rescue efforts in the quake-hit areas in Turkey after flying over 8,000 km on a chartered plane.
“Upon arrival, the team will bring audio and video life detectors, medical equipment and rescue dogs to the disaster area and immediately start the search and rescue work,” said Wang Mo, deputy head of the Chinese rescue team.
While Syria is struggling harder amid the earthquakes, the US sanctions are still blocking humanitarian relief work in the country.
In a statement, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that Syrians, while dealing with the earthquake catastrophe, are digging among rubbles with bare hands or using the simplest tools, as the equipment for removing the rubbles has been banned by the United States.