In Turkey, the Earthquake that killed 12 years of Syria’s civil war has killed tens-million people — the worst earthquake in history
Rescue crews braved freezing temperatures to pull bodies from the rubble of thousands of buildings that have toppled throughout southern Turkey and northern Syria. The critical time between Monday’s magnitude 7.8 earthquake and when most survivors are found has now passed, which is when most disasters occur.
The disaster compounded suffering in a region beset by Syria’s 12-year civil war, which has displaced millions of people within the country and left them dependent on aid. Millions were sent to Turkey to escape the fighting.
The earthquake that struck southern Turkey, which caused deaths and destroyed buildings, is considered the world’s deadliest one in more than a decade. A 2011 earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami that killed more than 19,000 people.
On Wednesday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kahramanmaras, a city near the epicenter of the quake, telling survivors that “we are face to face with a great disaster.” It has been suggested that the rescue response has been slow due to a lack of trained personnel and that there were shortfalls by the government. The president cited winter weather conditions and destroyed infrastructure, including airport runways, as complicating factors.
The Istanbul stock exchange closed after rapid declines made acircuit breaker necessary. Turkey’s economy was reeling from out of control inflation.
The rescue of a family in Kahramanmara, Turkey, following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on May 17, 2005
Dramatic rescues were being broadcast on Turkish television, including the rescue of the Narli family in central Kahramanmaras 133 hours after the 7.8-magnitude temblor struck Monday. The first person to be saved was Nehir Narli’s parents.
That followed the rescue earlier in the day of a family of five from a mound of debris in the hard-hit town of Nurdagi, in Gaziantep province, TV network HaberTurk reported. Rescuers cheered and chanted, “God is Great!” as the last family member, the father, was lifted to safety.
“In some of our settlements, we can say that most of the stone has been torn down,” he said.
The woman in her 20’s was extricated from the rubble in Elbism in the 132th hour after the earthquake, after another person was saved at the same site. Ahead of her rescue, police announced that people shouldn’t cheer or clap in order to not interfere with other rescue efforts nearby. She was covered in a thermal blanket on a stretcher. Rescuers were hugging each other. Some shouted, “God is great!”
Just an hour earlier, a 3-year-old girl and her father were pulled from debris in the town of Islahiye, also in Gaziantep province, and soon after a 7-year-old girl was rescued in the province of Hatay.
The rescues brought shimmers of joy amid overwhelming devastation days after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake and a powerful aftershock hours later caused thousands of buildings to collapse, killing more than 25,000, injuring another 80,000 and leaving millions homeless.
Not everything ended well. Rescuers were able to save a girl who was in the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay province. But she died before the medical teams could amputate a limb and free her from the rubble, Hurriyet newspaper reported.
Despite experts saying that trapped people can live for a week or more, the chances of finding more survivors were quickly waning. thermal cameras were being used to help identify life in the rubble, a sign that any survivors could be too weak to call for help.
A miracle if you can’t come out of the rubble: The Indian Army’s medical assistance toll survive a devastating earthquake
As aid continued to arrive, a 99-member group from the Indian Army’s medical assistance team began treating the injured in a temporary field hospital in the southern city of Iskenderun, where a main hospital was demolished.
He said he was miraculously saved from his collapsed apartment building in Antakya within hours of Monday’s earthquake. He was released after getting first aid and not having proper treatment for his injuries.
″I buried (everyone that I lost), then I came here,” Canbulat said, counting his dead relatives: “My daughter is dead, my sibling died, my aunt and her daughter died, and the wife of her son” who was 8 ½ months pregnant.
A graveyard is being built on the outskirts of Antakya. The northeast side of the city was covered with pits dug by Backhoes and bulldozers for trucks and ambulances carrying body bags. Soldiers warned motorists not to take photos while directing traffic on the road.
A worker with Turkey’s Ministry of Religious Affairs who did not wish to be identified because of orders not to share information with the media said that around 800 bodies were brought the cemetery on Friday, its first day of operation. He said as many as 2,000 had been laid to rest by midday on Saturday.
It is a miracle if they survive, because the people have come out from the rubble. It’s been said that the majority of people who come out are dead.
U.N. Relief in Turkey and Syria: Reaching Out to the Most Devastated Enclave Without Getting A Roof Over Your Head
Many people don’t have a roof over their heads in the large region. Millions of hot meals and tents have been given by the Turkish government, but it is still hard to reach many people in need.
The government of Syria, which is supported by Russia, announced a three-month opening of humanitarianaid crossing into the northwest, allowing for additional aid routes into the devastated enclave. There were millions of Syrians who needed U.N. aid before the earthquakes.
Assad and his wife Asma visited the mother and son of Ibrahim Zakariya, a 22-year-old man who was extricated from the rubble of the nearby town of Jableh, Syria’s state TV said.
35 tons of medical equipment was brought by the head of the World Health Organization to Syria on Saturday, according to SANA’s report. He said another plane carrying an additional 30 tons of medical equipment will arrive in the coming days.
Aid agencies are working to help millions of people with food, tents, warm winter clothing, blankets, mattresses, medical supplies and mental health support. Concerns exist that need arising from other crises like the war in Ukraine could affect assistance over time.
Carla Haddad Mardini, director of UNICEF’s private fundraising and partnerships, tells NPR Syria had lost the attention of the world, as have many other underfunded crises. She was speaking at the World Government Summit, an annual forum of political and thought leaders.
Mardini says that donor support is critical to the work of the UN Children’s Fund in providing food, water and healthcare to the people in earthquake-hit areas.
“We know the needs are immense across the board, but it’s essential for their support to reach us as quickly as possible so that we can bring the aid where it’s needed most,” she says.
The U.N. is appealing for nearly $1.4 billion to help survivors in Turkey and Syria — $1 billion to help more than 5 million people in Turkey and $397 million for northwestern Syria, a territory devastated by civil war and divided between opposition and government control.
It will take a ” massive effort” to rebuild after the recent disasters, the top U.S. diplomat said after a helicopter tour.
He talked with NPR at the World Government Summit. He’d just returned to the United Arab Emirates from Syria, where the WHO is delivering tons of medical supplies such as amputation equipment, intravenous fluids and medicine.
Some 200,000 people are homeless in government-controlled Aleppo and the international aid distribution is controlled by the Assad regime, according to the World Health Organization.
The United Nations’ humanitarian relief officer visited areas affected by the earthquakes and described scenes of “unspeakable anguish.”
A Syrian resident of Turkey, with millions of followers on social media, shared his tear-filled video in Arabic detailing psychological trauma among Syrian survivors.
Omar Abu Lebda described visiting Antakya and meeting a 13-year-old boy who’d survived three days under the rubble. He was living with his family in a car after he had a leg injury. Another sister and his mother had died in the earthquakes.
Abu Lebda also described seeing a Syrian man abruptly getting off a bus after insisting he’d heard his two children calling for him from under the rubble of his home.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken toured the Hatay province, Turkey, in the aftermath of the Feb. 6 earthquake
Meanwhile, the U.N. refugee agency says it closed last year with only 56% of its funding needs met, leaving a $4.7 billion budget shortfall. The agency, which helps millions of Syrian refugees, says it has received less than 15% of their global funding requirements for the next three years.
ISTANBUL — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken took a helicopter tour Sunday of one of the provinces worst-affected by the Feb. 6 earthquake in southern Turkey and northern Syria and pledged a further $100 million in aid to help the region.
“This is going to be a long-term effort,” Blinken said at Incirlik Air Base, a joint U.S.-Turkish facility that has coordinated the distribution of disaster aid. “The search and rescue, unfortunately, is coming to an end. The recovery is going on, and there will be a massive rebuilding operation.
Blinken is set to fly to Ankara, Turkey’s capital, later Sunday for discussions with Turkish officials on Monday, including an anticipated meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As well as the effects of the earthquake, Blinken is expected to discuss Sweden and Finland’s efforts to join NATO, which Turkey has delayed.
He toured Turkey’s Hatay province from the air with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. He was supposed to meet with both Turkish and U.S. military families affected by the earthquake.
Incirlik is the home of the 39th Air Base Wing, which is a vital logistical center for aid distribution. Supplies from around the world have been flown into the base and sent by truck and helicopter to those in need, including in difficult to reach villages.