Turkey & Syria Earthquake Death Toll Nears 16,000
The death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria this week has surpassed 15,800.
According to officials at least 12,873 people have died in Turkey. Syria so far has confirmed at last 2,950 dead.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has faced criticism over the government’s slow response to the disaster. People in the country complained of a lack of equipment, expertise, and support. The president has admitted that his government’s response was slow in search and rescue efforts.
Meanwhile, Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations admitted the government had a “lack of capabilities and lack of equipment,”. He blamed American and European sanctions and more than a decade of civil war in his country. Aid agencies are particularly worried about northwestern Syria, where more than 4 million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance.
Freezing weather conditions are further endangering survivors and complicating rescue efforts, as more than 100 aftershocks have struck the region.
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In Turkey, Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces and sent troops to help.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday 6 February. Thousands of buildings collapsed in the two countries. Many who were asleep when then the earthquake struck were buried beneath the rubble.
The death toll is expected to top 20,000.