The number of victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria is approaching 20,000

The number of victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria is approaching 20,000

The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria is approaching 20,000

A view of collapsed buildings during an earthquake in the Turkish city of Hatay on February 9, 2023.

Ankara – The earthquake that hit the area on the border between Turkey and Syria on Monday claimed over 19,800 lives. At least 16,546 people died in Turkey alone, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced today. At least 3,277 people have died in Syria, but rescue work there, especially in rebel-held areas, is progressing much more slowly than in Turkey due to a lack of equipment.

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The number of victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria is approaching 20,000

The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria is approaching 20,000

The number of victims of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria approaching 20,000

Number of victims of the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria approaching 20,000

According to the AP agency, the earthquake on the border between Turkey and Syria has already surpassed the disaster in Japan in 2011, in which the Fukushima nuclear power plant was damaged, in terms of the number of victims. At that time, the earthquake and tsunami claimed 19,000 lives.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake overnight Monday and a slightly weaker aftershock caused massive damage near the Turkish-Syrian border. Thousands of buildings where people were sleeping collapsed. More victims are reported by the Turkish authorities, as the disaster also affected several large cities. The search of the rubble is progressing slowly and, even in view of the very cold weather, there are fears that the number of victims will rise significantly. Rescue operations are also hampered by aftershocks, of which seismologists have recorded 650 since Monday, the Office for the Resolution of Disasters and Emergency Situations (AFAD) said. According to the Reuters agency, after 79 hours, rescuers brought out a two-year-old boy who was trapped in the rubble of a house in Hatay province.

According to Erdogan, the earthquake earlier this week is the “disaster of the century”.

“The earthquake affected an area of ​​110,000 square kilometers… It is the third largest earthquake after the 1668 Anatolia earthquake and the 1939 Erzincan earthquake,” Vice President Fuat Oktay said in parliament today, according to Anadolu Agency. According to him, almost 64,000 people are injured. The Turkish AFAD office said today that over 113,000 rescue workers are working in the affected regions, of which almost 6,000 are experts from abroad, including the Czech Republic. Over 28,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area so far.

In the north of Syria, according to the government in Damascus and the opposition organization White Helmets, which operates in regions controlled by the rebels, 3,277 people have died. Syrian state media reports 1,347 dead in government-controlled areas, the White Helmets reported on Twitter today another 1,930 dead in rebel-held areas. In total, over 5,000 are injured.

In Syria, aid is complicated by the complex internal political and security situation, access to regions under the control of rebel groups is very difficult. Today, the first humanitarian convoy arrived there across the Turkish border. At the same time, millions of people were already dependent on humanitarian aid in northwestern Syria before this disaster.

“A region that has been plagued by crises for years is facing another crisis with unimaginable loss and damage,” DPA quoted Corinne Fleischer, the World Food Program's (WFP) regional director for the Middle East, North Africa and Eastern Europe as saying.

The Czechs do not stop searching the buildings, there may be dozens of people there

Czech rescuers in the Turkish city of Adiyaman continue to search the buildings that collapsed during Monday's earthquake. They assume that several dozen people remain in the rubble. “The priority is the rescue of the living, but no less important, for example for loved ones who are often on the scene, is also the recovery of the dead,” Czech fire brigade spokesman Jakub Kozák told journalists today. On Wednesday evening, he reported that three dead people, including two children, were pulled from the rubble.

Members of the Czech USAR (Urban Search and Rescue) team specialized in searching for people in the rubble began searching two buildings in Adiyaman on Tuesday evening an area of ​​approximately 40 by 40 meters. Kozák previously stated that one building has floors collapsed on top of itself, the other has collapsed.

“We don't stop working, we take turns in six-hour shifts,” Kozák said today and posted a video on Twitterfrom the activities of Czech firefighters in Turkey. According to the spokesman, the Czechs have also created a small group for rapid deployment for the needs of colleagues from other rescue teams in Adiyaman, consisting of a canine and a commander equipped with a slit camera. “This group has marked two places with the expected occurrence of living persons. Their rescue will take ten to 20 hours, it will be taken care of by colleagues from the heavy USAR from Algiers,” added Kozák after noon about the situation in Adyiamanu.

Among the victims the earthquake in Turkey is also a Czech woman who lived in the country for a long time. According to the Czech ambassador to Turkey, Pavel Vack, no other Czechs are now among the missing or injured.

According to Vack, the deceased woman lived in Adiyaman province, where a team of nearly seventy Czech rescuers has been helping since Tuesday.

The Czech USAR team abroad helped in the past, for example, in Beirut, Lebanon, in 2020 after an explosion in the port, which claimed the lives of two hundred people and injured another 6,000. In addition to firefighters, the Czech team at that time also included cynologists with dogs, a structural engineer and a doctor.< /p>