Home » The latest on the deadly Turkey-Syria earthquake

The latest on the deadly Turkey-Syria earthquake

by Ghassan

Turkey’s President Erdogan will visit more quake-hit cities today

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan meets with people in Kahramanmaras, Turkey, on Wednesday. (Turkish Presidential Press Office/Reuters)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will on Thursday visit three more areas that were damaged by Monday’s devastating earthquake in southern Turkey, state broadcaster TRT Haber reported. 

Erdogan will visit the southern cities of Gaziantep, Osmaniye, and Kilis, located near the border with Syria, TRT Haber said. 

On Wednesday, Erdogan visited an emergency relief center set up by Turkey’s disaster management agency near the epicenter in the district of Pazarcik, as well as relief efforts in the Adana, Hatay, and Kahramanmaras provinces.

Erdogan on government’s response: Speaking as he visited several disaster zones Wednesday, Erdogan vowed to take “every necessary step” and unite the state and nation so that “we will not leave any citizen unattended.”

Earlier in the day, the president had acknowledged public concern over the government’s response, admitting the state initially “had some problems” at airports and on roads, but insisted the situation was now “under control.”

Death toll from Turkey-Syria earthquakes surpasses 16,000

Rescue personnel conduct search operations in Adiyaman, Turkey, on Thursday. (Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The death toll from the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday is now at least 16,035, according to authorities.

In Syria, the total number of fatalities is at least 3,162, including 1,900 in rebel-held areas in the northwest, according to the “White Helmets” civil defense group. Some 1,262 deaths have been recorded in government-controlled parts of the country, according to Syrian state media.

In Turkey, the toll has risen to at least 12,873, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said on Thursday.

Aid agencies have warned the toll is likely to rise significantly higher, especially in Syria, as search and rescue teams sift through the rubble of thousands of collapsed buildings amid freezing weather conditions, faced with the risk of aftershocks.

Tens of thousands of people have been reported injured across the region, according to officials.

Body of Australian quake victim found in Turkey 

The body of an Australian man killed in Monday’s earthquake has been found in Turkey, according to Linda Scott, a municipal councilor in Sydney. 

Can Pahali, also known as John, had been visiting family in the country and was on vacation in the province of Hatay when the quake struck, CNN affiliate Nine News reported.

Australia’s Foreign Ministry confirmed the death of an Australian citizen as a result of the quake but did not name the individual.

“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is deeply saddened by reports an Australian has died in the Turkiye earthquakes,” the ministry said. “Our consular team, and our teams in Turkiye and Lebanon, are working hard to assist family members concerned about their loved ones.”

The ministry said it is supporting around 50 other Australians and their families who were in the quake zone. 

Grief at the border as Syrian victims’ bodies return from Turkey

Photos taken at a border crossing between Turkey and Syria show a devastating scene as families receive the bodies of their loved ones who died in Monday’s massive earthquake.

The bodies of more than 300 Syrians who died in the quake in Turkey have been brought across the border, a spokesperson for the Bab al-Hawa border crossing said on Wednesday.

A man carries a body at the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday. (Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing)

The bodies were sent back to Syria so the victims can be buried in their home country, Bab al-Hawa spokesperson Mazen Alloush said.

“Since Monday, and until now, we have been receiving bodies,” he said. “The bodies of Syrians, who were in Turkey, have been sent to us from various areas and hospitals.”

A man reacts as bodies of Syrian people are returned at the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday. (Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing)

More than 15,000 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria after Monday’s catastrophic earthquake, according to authorities, with the death toll expected to rise higher.

Authorities are yet to release a detailed breakdown of the victims’ nationalities. Turkey is home to some 3.6 million Syrian refugees, according to UN figures, with hundreds of thousands of Syrians living in the southern province of Gaziantep, near the quake’s epicenter.

A truck is seen with body bags at the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday. (Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing)

Allloush told CNN no aid had yet crossed the border, but he had received notice that six aid trucks would be entering the border before noon Thursday. 

According to Alloush, the six trucks would be carrying sanitary items and possibly food. 

Quake toll climbs as search teams battle grim conditions to find survivors. Here are the latest headlines

Search and rescue teams work to rescue a woman from under the rubble of a collapsed building in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Thursday morning. (Fecri Barlik/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The death toll from the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday has climbed to more than 15,000 as search and rescue teams battle grim conditions with thousands of collapsed buildings and freezing temperatures.

Here are the latest developments:

Emotions running high: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan admitted to “shortcomings” amid growing anger over the state’s response to the massive quake, but insisted the situation was now “under control.” Meanwhile, trading on Istanbul’s stock exchange was halted Wednesday after the main index plummeted in early dealing.

Twitter is back: Access to Twitter in Turkey is being restored, according to network monitoring firm NetBlocks, which said authorities had reminded the social media site of its “obligations” to take down “disinformation.” The apparent block had coincided with a visit by Erdogan to quake-hit areas.

Aid efforts: The World Health Organization said it’s scaling up its response in Syria and Turkey because diseases already present will be amplified in the quake’s aftermath. WHO is sending medical teams and three flights of medical supplies to the region. The US military sent two civilian urban search and rescue teams to Turkey and Australia is deploying 72 search and rescue specialists to the country. Meanwhile, the EU announced a donor conference to raise funds for victims.

Syria complications: While Turkey has received an outpouring of support and aid, analysts have warned that Syrian victims may become hostages of Western sanctions imposed against the government amid the country’s more than decade-long civil war. Some areas most impacted by the quake are controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s government, others by Turkish-backed and US-backed opposition forces, Kurdish rebels and Sunni Islamist fighters. The Syrian government says it has set up more than 100 shelters equipped with aid supplies across areas it controls.

Border crossing restored: Meanwhile, the road leading to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Turkey and Syria is accessible after it was damaged by the quake, according to a UN official. A spokesperson for the crossing said it had not seen any international aid as of Wednesday but had received the bodies of more than 300 Syrians who died in Turkey.

Survivors still being found: There have been some dramatic rescues, including that of two sisters who spent 62 hours under their collapsed building in Gaziantep, Turkey. Search and rescue teams in the southern city continue to look through the rubble for survivors.

US nationals killed: At least three US citizens died in the quake in southeastern Turkey, and four Australians remain unaccounted for in the country, according to officials. Meanwhile, two Ukrainians believed to have died in the quake were found alive in the rubble of a house.

Tough conditions: Extreme winter weather is impacting rescue efforts. Aftershocks are also a potential hazard — at least 125 measuring 4.0 or greater have occurred since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck southern Turkey on Monday, according to the US Geological Survey. Though their frequency and magnitude are decreasing, 5.0 to 6.0+ aftershocks remain possible and bring a risk of additional damage to compromised structures and a continued threat to rescue teams and survivors.

Twitter access is being restored in Turkey, network monitoring firm says

Access to Twitter in Turkey is being restored after users reported being unable to access the social media site following Monday’s deadly earthquake, according to network monitoring firm NetBlocks.

“The restoration comes after authorities held a meeting with Twitter to ‘remind Twitter of its obligations’ on content takedowns and disinformation, ” NetBlocks tweeted.

Earlier Wednesday, NetBlocks, journalists and academics reported that access to Twitter had been restricted in the country. Some Twitter users appealed to Twitter CEO Elon Musk for help, tagging his Twitter handle in an apparent effort to get his attention.

In a tweet Wednesday, Musk said the Turkish government had told him that authorities would stop blocking the social media platform.

NetBlocks said traffic filtering had been applied at the internet service provider level that was preventing Twitter users from reaching the site.

Its report coincided with user claims that Twitter was inaccessible in the country, and as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began a tour of the quake-hit region.

More than 15,000 people killed in Turkey-Syria quake, officials say

The death toll following the catastrophic earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday has risen to at least 15,383, according to authorities.

The toll in Turkey surged by more than 3,000 in a matter of hours and is now at 12,391, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency on Thursday.

The total number of deaths in Syria is at least 2,992, including 1,730 in rebel-held areas in the northwest, according to the “White Helmets” civil defense group, as well as an additional 1,262 deaths in government-controlled parts of Syria, according to Syrian state media.  

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