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The earthquake in Turkey and Syria has killed more than 33,000, according to the latest official reports

The earthquake in Turkey and Syria has killed more than 33,000, according to the latest official reports

The toll of the disaster continues to grow. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday February 6 killed more than 33,000 people, according to the latest official figures on Sunday February 12. The earthquake killed 29,605 people in southern Turkey, according to Turkish authorities, while 3,574 people have been killed in Syria.

“I think it’s difficult to estimate (the toll) precisely, because we have to go under the rubble, but I’m sure it will double, or more”said the head of the UN humanitarian agency Martin Griffiths, visiting the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, epicenter of the earthquake, on Saturday. “We haven’t really started counting the number of dead yet”did he declare.

In Turkey, cases of miraculous rescues, well beyond the crucial 72-hour period after the disaster, continue to be reported by relief workers and the media. In Jableh, on the Syrian coast, “many families have been separated, the situation is extremely difficult” and there is little hope of finding people alive, testifies Rouba Ahmed Shaheen, member of the medical rescue.

More than twenty million people affected by the earthquake

Nearly 32,000 people are mobilized for search and rescue operations in Turkey, as well as more than 8,000 foreign rescuers, according to the Turkish agency responsible for natural disasters. Access to Syria at war, whose regime is under international sanctions, is much more complicated. Humanitarian organizations are particularly worried about the spread of cholera, which has reappeared in Syria. Martin Griffiths acknowledged that “So far, we have failed the people of northwestern Syria. They rightly feel abandoned”. It is now necessary “correct this failure as soon as possible”.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 26 million people may have been affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, including “about five million vulnerable people”. The UN health agency is making an urgent appeal to raise $42.8 million.

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