More than 11,200 dead after earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

The toll is getting heavier hour by hour. The earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday killed more than 11,200 people, according to the latest official reports published on Wednesday. The death toll in Turkey has already reached 8,574, announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who visited the city of Kahramanmaras, epicenter of the earthquake, while in Syria 2,662 bodies were removed from the rubble.

In freezing cold, rescuers continue to race against time to try to rescue survivors of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck at dawn on Monday and shook southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria. Bad weather is complicating the task of rescue, and the Turkish Interior Minister warned on Tuesday that the next 48 hours would be “crucial” to find survivors.

Survivors take refuge at the airport

In Gaziantep, a city located very close to the epicenter of the earthquake, a resident has already lost hope of finding her aunt alive, buried under the rubble. ” It’s too late. Now we are waiting for our dead,” she said. International aid has started to arrive in Turkey where national mourning has been declared for seven days. The death toll there currently stands at more than 9,500. This is already the worst death toll that Turkey has known since 1999, when 17,000 people died, including a thousand in Istanbul.

For fear of returning home, survivors have sought refuge at Turkey’s Gaziantep airport. “Now our lives are so marked by uncertainty. How am I going to take care of these children? asks Zahide Sutcu, who fled his apartment with his two young children. Twenty-three million people are “potentially exposed, including around five million vulnerable people”, warned the World Health Organization (WHO).

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