Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria resulted in over 20,000 deaths
Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria resulted in over 20,000 deaths

Turkey: The most recent official statistics show that more than 20,000 people have died and nearly 80,000 have been hurt as a result of the series of devastating earthquakes that began on Monday in southern Turkey and northern Syria. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are now stranded in the bitter cold.

The Turkish Health Ministry updated the death toll on Thursday evening, bringing it to 17,406; 71,866 people had documented earthquake injuries. While the rebels supported by the West claimed nearly 1,800 more deaths in areas they control, Syrian authorities put the death toll at 1,347.

Early on Monday, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake shook Turkey's Kahramanmaras Province. In Gaziantep Province, the two strongest aftershocks had magnitudes of 6.4 and 6.5, respectively.

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In the midst of the freezing winter, survivors are struggling to stay warm, and some have reportedly requested an evacuation from Turkey.

Ahmet Tokgoz, a resident of Antakya in the Hatay province, told AP, "Especially in this cold, it is not possible to live here." Campfires are providing some people with warmth, but they can only do so much.

If people haven't already perished from being trapped under the debris, Tokgoz continued, "they'll die from the cold."

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, said during a visit to Hatay on Wednesday that nobody could have anticipated a catastrophe of this scope, but Ankara "will not leave any of our citizens uncared for."

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More than 5,500 vehicles, including bulldozers, cranes, excavators, and tractors, were supporting more than 110,000 rescuers in Türkiye. Crews from the Russian Emergency Ministry, which had also been sent to Syria, were among them.

According to Major-General Oleg Yegorov, Russian forces operating in the Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, and Hama have pulled 47 people from the rubble, treated 225 more people, and delivered 38.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

According to estimates from the World Health Organization, the long-term effects of the earthquakes could affect up to 23 million people. After 12 years of armed conflict and an economic blockade imposed by the US and its allies, the situation in Syria is particularly bad. In order to facilitate the entry of aid, charities and international organisations have repeatedly urged the West to suspend or lift its sanctions.

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At a press conference on Wednesday, El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Syria, said, "We just hope that the political considerations will get out of the way and let us do our job."

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