Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Death toll breaches 7,000-mark; snowfall hamper rescue work | The Financial Express

Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Death toll breaches 7,000-mark; snowfall hamper rescue work

Turkey Earthquake Latest: The first batch of relief materials from India arrived at the airport of Adana city in southern Turkey on Tuesday.

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People walk past a collapsed building in Malatya, Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Search teams and aid are pouring into Turkey and Syria as rescuers working in freezing temperatures dig through the remains of buildings flattened by a magnitude 7.8 earthquake. (AP Photo)

Turkey Earthquake Latest Updates: A baby girl, with her umbilical cord still attached to her mother, was miraculously rescued in Syria’s northern region. The new-born is the sole survivor in her family of five. Her mother died while giving birth to her. The baby is one of the several hundred people, who are still trapped under enormous concrete rubble, after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake flattened cities in both Turkey and Syria on Monday. As the rescuers race against time to look for the survivors, the death toll continues to rise with every passing hour. Latest reports from the disaster zone say that 7,200 deaths have been confirmed by the local authorities in both nations.

People are using crowbars and pickaxes to remove debris and look for their loved ones. In Some cases, residents are dropping down water bottles tied to strings to help the survivor sustain longer until help reaches them. While others are removing piles of concrete with their bare hands in a desperate attempt to rescue their family members. Freezing temperatures and widespread destruction is posing a challenge for the relief teams. While aid had been pouring in from several nations including India, the relief is not reaching the survivors in time. An AP report described how cries of help fell silent with only bodies left to be collected by the teams in Turkey’s Nurdagi.

Two powerful earthquakes on Monday and cascades of intense aftershocks have kept both the survivors and relief teams in state of urgency. As of now, over 8,000 people have been pulled of rubble in Turkey alone. In neighbouring civil war-hit Syria, the citizens are just bracing for more agony along with delayed response. While humanitarian aid has been pouring in, there are issues of border crossings and political rifts. While government in Damascus has allowed border crossing, the Western powers are still working on how to tackle the aftermath of this natural disaster with delicate political equation with Syrian president Bhashar al-Assad. Relief groups have said that roads leading to Syria from Turkey have bene blocked.

Meanwhile, earlier in the day on Tuesday, India said that it has sent NDRF’s search and rescue teams to Turkey and Syria consisting of specially trained dogs, medical equipment, and drilling machines. This was right after the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) announced to send of NDRF search and rescue teams in coordination with the Government of the Republic of Turkey.

Several countries sent trained personnel to assist in the rescue and search efforts on the ground. Turkey’s disaster management agency had earlier stated that over 24,400 emergency personnel were now working their way through the rubble.

– The first batch of relief materials from India arrived at the airport of Adana city in southern Turkey on Tuesday. The materials had left the Hindon Airbase in Ghaziabad early on Tuesday. According to an ANI report, India will send two more C-17 Indian Air Force planes to Turkey on Tuesday evening with 60 Para Field Hospital and personnel. The medical team reportedly includes Orthopaedic Surgical Team, General Surgical Specialist Team, Medical Specialist Teams apart from other medical teams. The teams are equipped with X-ray machines, ventilators, Oxygen generation plant, Cardiac monitors and associated equipment to establish a 30 bedded medical facility.

-An earthquake of 5.7 magnitude hit central Turkey on Tuesday morning, news agency Reuters said, citing the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC). This was the fourth earthquake to hit the country. Turkey and Syria were hit by three consecutive devastating earthquakes on Monday.

– The U.S. Geological Survey measured Monday’s quake to be of 7.8 magnitude. The second quake, which reportedly was triggered by the first was of 7.6 magnitude. The third earthquake of magnitude 6.0 which hit the city of Goksun, Turkey on Monday. At least 100 aftershocks were observed post the earthquakes that struck southern Turkey on Monday.

– On the Syrian side, the affected area is divided between government-controlled territory and the country’s last opposition-held enclave, which is surrounded by Russian-backed government forces, reported AP. Some historical buildings were also destroyed as a result of the quake in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, and Tartus, the Syrian Cultural Ministry said, reported The Indian Express. The most notable damage was to the historic Aleppo Citadel, which is among the world’s oldest and largest castles. The ministry informed that it sustained “little to medium” damage, including the collapse of parts of its Ottoman mill, and the destruction of its entrances.

– The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said that it was especially concerned about the silent areas of Turkey and Syria from where absolutely no information had emerged following the earthquakes. “We’re especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO’s executive board meeting in Geneva, reported Reuters. “Damage mapping is one way to understand where we need to focus our attention,” Ghebreyesus added further.

(With Agency Inputs)

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First published on: 07-02-2023 at 14:56 IST