Major Updates: Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Death Toll crosses 34,000
Devastating earthquakes in Turkey and neighbouring Syria have killed over 34,000 people and injured tens of thousands of others. The death toll is expected to keep rising as emergency crews continue search and rescue operations.
Israeli search-and-rescue group United Hatzalah announced Sunday it had suspended operations in Turkey and returned home due to a “significant security threat”. “We knew that there was a certain level of risk in sending our team to this area of Turkey, which is close to the Syrian border,” the group’s vice president of operations Dov Maisel informed.
The announcement follows a decision by German rescue workers and the Austrian army to suspend operations Saturday over security concerns.
Meanwhile, the UN on Sunday admitted an international failure to help quake victims in war-torn regions of Syria and requested a ceasefire for urgent transport of aid. Turkish officials have also detained dozens of people allegedly involved in poor quality and illegal construction methods of collapsed buildings, AP reported.
Syrian filmmaker lost 13 family members in the disaster
Cinematographer for Oscar-winning short film ‘The White Helmets’ and Oscar-nominated documentary ‘Last Men in Aleppo’ Fadi Al-Halabi took to Facebook on Monday to inform the death of 13 family members in the quake. Compared to Turkey, relief efforts in Syria have been made more complicated by a long-running civil war and challenges of getting humanitarian aid into rebel-held areas.
EU Commission chief pledges additional support for Turkey
Ursula von der Leyen, in a phone call Sunday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, promised to mobilise extra support and respond to Turkey’s latest request for more shelter capacity. The bloc is looking forward to a donor conference set to be held in Brussels in March to attract additional funding for the quake-hit nations.
Survivors are still being rescued.
In the latest in a series of stunning stories of success, as emergency crews continue to search for survivors, a 10 year-old-girl was pulled out of the rubble alive after 147 hours in southern Turkey’s Hatay province. A 35-year-old man was also rescued from the ruins of an apartment building in the same province on Sunday.