Illustrative photo – The aftermath of the earthquake in the Turkish city of Antakya, February 10, 2023.
Ankara – The earthquake that hit southeast Turkey and northwest Syria last Monday has claimed more than 35,000 lives. According to the Anadolu Agency, the Turkish authorities reported today that the number of dead after the earthquake in Turkey is already 31,643. So far, over 4,300 people have been reported dead in Syria. The association of Turkish companies estimated the damage caused by the earthquake at 84 billion dollars (1.9 trillion crowns), Reuters writes today.
Photo Gallery: Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria
Turkey's Disaster Management Authority (AFAD) announced today that the death toll from the February 6 earthquake in Turkey has reached at least 31,643. He also stated that over 238,000 rescue workers and volunteers are working in the affected areas, including almost 9,800 foreigners from seven dozen countries. AFAD also announced that 158,000 people had been evacuated from the affected area.
According to the Association of Turkish Companies, the damage caused by the earthquake will reach 84 billion dollars, while the government estimate speaks of damages of 50 billion dollars. The association estimates the damage to buildings and infrastructure at 71 billion dollars. Another $10.4 billion is unrealized income from the national economy, and the union estimates the damage caused by missed workdays at around $3 billion. In the ten Turkish provinces affected by the disaster, roughly 15 percent of the country's population lives and a tenth of Turkey's GDP is concentrated there.
According to economists, the reconstruction after the earthquake and related investments will lead to a sharp growth of the Turkish economy in the first months. However, for the whole year, the earthquake will reduce the country's economic growth, which was forecast to reach around five percent this year, by up to two percentage points.
According to Anadolu Agency, earthquakes with a magnitude of 7.8 a week ago affected over 13 million people in ten Turkish provinces. They also hit northwestern Syria, where the area controlled by the rebels was also affected. According to the UN, over 4,300 people have died and thousands more have been injured in the earthquake in Syria. At least 3,200 people have died, according to the White Helmets NGO, which is conducting rescue operations in the rebel-held region. Syrian government says at least 1,414 dead in regime-held areas.
Reuters: Earthquake stokes Turkish hostility towards Syrian refugees
The devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria has fueled animosity among some Turkish citizens toward the millions of Syrian refugees living in the country. The Turks accuse them of looting amid the destruction and chaos that has occurred in the country, Reuters wrote.
Several Turks living in cities damaged by the tremors have accused the Syrians of looting damaged shops and homes. Anti-Syrian slogans such as “We don't want Syrians”, “Immigrants should be deported” or “You are no longer welcome” appear much more often on Twitter.
Some of the homeless Syrians said they were kicked out of makeshift camps, and one Syrian even opened a shelter in the city of Mersin just for his compatriots after facing racist abuse in their previous accommodation.
< p>“We stopped going to look at the places where the rescue work is going on, because there people shout at us and push us when they hear us speak Arabic,” described one of the Syrians, who did not want to be named. “People keep accusing us of looting, but it's just to create controversy,” he added.
The earthquake has already claimed more than 35,000 lives and the hopes of finding someone alive in the ruins are almost slim. In recent days, however, the security situation in the area affected by the earthquake has come into the spotlight. There were reports of looting, on Saturday the Austrian army and German rescue organizations suspended work. They justified this by concerns about the safety of rescuers. Subsequently, the Austrians partially resumed the rescue work, under the protection of the Turkish army.
Turkish security forces detained 48 people in connection with the robbery, the Minister of Justice said on Sunday. He did not specify where they came from. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already promised that he will deal with all looters vigorously.
Turkey is home to almost four million Syrian refugees, many of whom live in the south of the country near the Syrian border. For example, in the city of Gaziantep, which was severely damaged by the earthquake, there are almost half a million Syrians, who make up a quarter of the local population. As Reuters noted, resentment against Syrians is nothing new in the country, but the earthquake has exacerbated mutual tensions.
“Syrians walk around with their empty backpacks and fill them with things from shops. There was a lot of looting here,” says Ahmet, a dentist sitting across from the rubble that used to be his office. Some people offering aid on social media openly mention that it is not for Syrians. “Those who survived the earthquake can stay in my house in Ankara for a year under the condition that they are not Syrians,” reads one of the offers on Twitter, for example. /h3>
A group of Israeli rescuers left southeastern Turkey, affected by a devastating earthquake a week ago, on Sunday, justifying their early departure from the area due to security concerns. This was reported by The Times of Israel server. Already on Saturday, Austrian and German rescuers announced that they were suspending rescue operations due to the deteriorating security situation in the area. Today, the APA agency wrote that Austrian soldiers will end operations in Turkey by noon today. Slovak rescuers also returned home a little earlier on Sunday, and they also cited the deteriorating security situation as one of the reasons.
About four dozen Israeli rescuers from the volunteer organization United Hatzalah helped in the area of the city of Kahramanmaraş, which is one of the most affected by this earthquake. A spokesman for the organization said on Sunday that rescuers had received information about a security threat. He only said that it is related to the area in which he operates and which is located near the Syrian border. Another reason for their concerns was the proximity of the Turkish city of Gaziantep, where terrorists from the Islamic State (IS) organization operated in the past. In addition, tensions are growing among the residents of the affected region due to what they believe is insufficient help from the Turkish government.
A spokesman for the Israeli rescuers, who were originally supposed to stay in Turkey for ten days, said that they also had information about kidnapping threats from foreign groups.
Nevertheless, Israeli soldiers remain in the area of the Turkish city of Kahramanmaraş, who also ended the rescue operations on Sunday. According to the Israeli media, the reason is that there is very little hope of saving the survivors. Israeli military doctors who operate a field hospital there, where they have treated hundreds of people injured in the earthquake, will remain on site.
Already on Saturday, Austrian and German rescuers operating in Hatay province announced that they would suspend operations due to security concerns. They said that there was increasing aggression between local groups and that they heard gunshots. Today, the APA agency wrote that the Austrian soldiers will be available for rescue operations until noon, and then they will go to the airport in Adana. However, according to APA, this unit did not participate in the rescue work since Sunday and resumed work on Saturday only thanks to the protection provided by the Turkish troops. Eight dozen Austrian servicemen and women have been in Turkey since last Tuesday.
Two groups of German rescuers also stopped working in Turkey today – I.S.A.R. Germany and a group of rescuers with dogs, the DPA agency reported. They operated in the same way as the Austrian soldiers in the province of Hatay, where they had been since Tuesday.
A day earlier, on Sunday, Slovak rescuers returned from Turkey, and they also cited the deteriorating security situation as the reason, but also the slim chance of saving the living. The Slovak unit consisted of ten firefighters and five members of the mountain service. Originally, the mission was planned for seven days.
A week after the earthquake, the Czechs sent 80 million CZK in aid
A week after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, people contributed approximately 80 million crowns to the collections announced by the Czech humanitarian organization to help the affected countries. It emerged from the statements of their representatives for ČTK and from the data on their websites. The organizations have already used part of the collected money, they distribute, for example, warm food, clothes, blankets or pay volunteers in the affected areas.
Shortly after the first information about the devastating earthquake, People in Need, Charita CR, ADRA, Czech Red Cross and Diakonie ČCE organized a fundraiser in the Czech Republic at the beginning of last week. The largest amount was collected in the SOS earthquake Syria and Turkey collection, which was announced by People in Need. According to information on the websitepeople sent 60 million crowns to her account as of 09:00 today. According to spokesman Jan Oulík, Charita CR has collected 9.9 million crowns to date. According to the head of the communications department, Ema Klementová, the ADRA organization received 5.7 million crowns to help the affected countries and the Czech Red Cross received 2.97 million crowns as of this morning, Miroslava Jirůtková said on behalf of the organization. The collection account set up by Diakonie ČCE also exceeded one million crowns.
“However, the situation in north-western Syria remains critical, and local authorities warn that at least 11,000 families remain homeless. It is precisely to those through our partner organization that mattresses, blankets and warm clothes are on the way to wait out the cold nights in tents and temporary shelters,” Anna Janská told ČTK today on behalf of the ČCE Diakonia.
People can continue to donate to the People in Need collection to help Turkey and Syria via account 51945194/0300. Charita CR collects money on account 55660022/0800 with variable symbol 118 and ADRA on account number 66888866/0300, variable symbol 389. The Czech Red Cross has a Humanity Fund with number 333999/2700 to which people can send money specifically to help countries after the earthquake via the variable symbol 2301. Diakonie ČCE withdraws to the collection account number 292949292/0300 with the variable symbol 2023.
Humanitarian organizations also help in places affected by the earthquake. For example, People in Need has 500 workers there and offers, for example, hot food, distributes blankets, clothes, and we financially support local partners or volunteers helping with debris removal. In Syria, he wants to help at least 30,000 families to buy basic food and winterize. The help of the international organization ADRA is coordinated on the ground by its colleagues. It also concerns the provision of temporary shelter or the distribution of food, water, blankets, winter clothing or hygiene items.