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Turkey Earthquake Update: Death Toll Rises Over 5000; Nations Send Help

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The World Health Organization has warned that the death toll from yesterday’s earthquake in southeast Turkey, close to the Syrian border, might increase eightfold. The death toll, which now exceeds 5000, has rapidly risen since the first earthquake struck early on Monday morning.

A second significant earthquake struck further north around 12 hours later.

In the frigid and icy weather, rescuers have been searching through piles of wreckage for survivors.

Other nations have been equipment, sniffer dogs, and specialized crews to assist in the rescue operations.

The tremors scaled up to 7.8 magnitudes, which struck at 04:17 local time (05: 17 MUT), at a depth of 17.9 km (11 miles) near the city of Gaziantep.

The initial earthquake was one of the biggest ever recorded in Turkey, according to seismologists. The survivors reported that the shaking didn’t cease for two minutes.

The second earthquake with a magnitude of 7.5 was a result of the first and struck the Elbistan district of the Kahramanmaras province.

The area is still experiencing aftershocks of the earthquakes.

Throughout Monday, both the number of fatalities and injuries in Turkey and Syria had dramatically risen.

The WHO issued a warning that as additional victims were being discovered in the rubble, those numbers might rise by as much as eight times.

The WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, while talking to the French international news agency, said, “We always see the same thing with earthquakes, unfortunately, which is that the initial reports of the numbers of people who have died or who have been injured will increase quite significantly in the week that follows.”

The dangers will be increased, Smallwood continued, because many people won’t have access to shelter due to the snowy weather.

Millions of refugees reside in camps on both sides of the Syrian border with Turkey, where many of the victims are in the war-torn northern region of the country. Numerous fatalities have been reported in regions controlled by the rebels.

Numerous videos document the moment that thousands of buildings in both countries crumbled as witnesses fled for cover. There are vast heaps of rubble as far as the eye can see, and several structures that were as tall as 12 stories have been demolished.

Many buildings had collapsed due to the quake, as well as Gaziantep Castle, a historical landmark that stood for 2000 years. 

While reporting from the Turkish city of Osmaniye, Anna Foster, a BBC Middle East journalist, recounted a tragic scene which was close to the epicenter.

She said that the rescue efforts were continuing to be hampered by the torrential rain. The city had since then lost connection to power.

She stated, “We’re still experiencing typical aftershocks… and there are still worries that additional buildings could collapse.”

Large fires may be seen in videos that have surfaced indicating damage to Turkey’s energy infrastructure. On social media, many alleged that damaged gas pipelines were the reason for this.

Fatih Donmez, Turkey’s energy minister, acknowledged that the infrastructure had suffered significant harm but made no mention of the explosions.

Around 10 cities have been affected, including Gaziantep, Osmaniye, Adiyaman, Malatya, Sanliurfa, Adana, Diyarbakir and Kilis, said Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu.

Turkey is situated in the world’s most active earthquake zone. 

Nations sending help 

Turkish President Erdogan reported that 45 countries had given assistance after an international plea for support.

Many of the disaster-affected families, according to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “are already in grave need of humanitarian relief in locations where access is a difficulty,” prompting the appeal for an international response to the catastrophe.

While search and rescue teams from the Netherlands and Romania were already enroute to Turkey, the European Union was also sending teams. The UK announced that it would deploy 76 experts, tools, and rescue dogs.

The US, Israel, France, Germany, and Germany have all promised support. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, pledged assistance to Iran, Turkey, and Syria.

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