Death Toll in Turkey, Syria Earthquakes Rises to Nearly 8,000

Death Toll in Turkey, Syria Earthquakes Rises to Nearly 8,000

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The death toll from a devastating earthquake in southern Turkey and Syria jumped to more than 7,800 people on Tuesday as rescuers worked against the clock in harsh winter conditions to dig survivors out of the rubble of collapsed buildings.

As the scale of the disaster became ever more apparent, the death toll looked likely to rise considerably. One UN official said thousands of children may have died, according to ABC news.

Thinly stretched rescue teams worked through the night on February 7, after a catastrophic earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria. The magnitude 7.8 quake claimed the lives of more than 7,900 people and caused thousands of buildings to crumble. Despite the challenge posed by freezing temperatures and ongoing aftershocks, search teams from more than two dozen countries joined Turkish emergency personnel in their rescue efforts.

In Kahramanmaras, Turkey, rescuers pulled a three-year-old boy named Arif Kaan from the rubble of a collapsed apartment building. In the city of Adiyaman, rescuers saved 10-year-old Betul Edis from the ruins of her home. However, these stories were few, with many people still missing and waiting for help.

In Syria, the quake added to the country's 12-year war and refugee crisis, toppling thousands of buildings and leaving residents in a dire situation.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces and said that 13 million of the country's 85 million people were affected by the quake. Over 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey and around 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels.

In Syria, the death toll in government-held areas has climbed to 812, with 1,400 injured. In the rebel-held northwest, at least 1,020 people have died, according to volunteer first responders, with over 2,300 injured.

The region sits on top of major fault lines and is frequently shaken by earthquakes, with 18,000 people killed in a similarly powerful earthquake in northwest Turkey in 1999. The current disaster has been dubbed a "crisis on top of multiple crises" by Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergencies officer with the World Health Organization.

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