Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: death toll now exceeds 5,000

Rescue workers in the town of Sarmada, Syria, after the earthquake that shook the country as well as southern Turkey.


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The race against the weather and the cold continues this Tuesday, February 7, the day after the violent earthquakes which shook the south-east of Turkey and the north of Syria, where the balance sheet continues to climb, now exceeding 5,000 dead, and where international assistance is expected.


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International aid is due to arrive this Tuesday in Turkey and Syria in the regions affected the day before by the tremors, the first of which, early Monday, reached a magnitude of 7.8 and was felt as far as Lebanon, Cyprus and in northern Iraq.

According to a new count Tuesday from the Turkish public body for disaster management (Afad), 3,419 people died in Turkey.

Syrian authorities and rescue workers in rebel areas reported 1,509 dead and 3,548 injured in Syria.

Rescuers fought hard in the cold, in the pouring rain or snow, sometimes with their bare hands, to save every life that could be saved.

The bad weather that hangs over Anatolia complicates the task of rescue and makes the fate of the survivors even more bitter, shivering in tents or around improvised braziers.

Following the powerful #earthquakes that hit southern #Turkey and northwestern #Syria on February 6, #MSF, already active in #Syria, mobilized its teams, in conjunction with local partners, to meet the growing needs in the region.

— MSF France (@MSF_france) February 6, 2023

45 countries offered their help

International aid to Turkey should therefore begin to arrive on Tuesday with the first teams of rescuers, from France and Qatar in particular.

US President Joe Biden has promised his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan "

all the help needed, whatever it is


The French planned to go in particular to Kahramanmaras, epicenter of the first earthquake, a region difficult to access and deeply bruised, buried under the snow.

Two American detachments of 79 rescue workers each were preparing to go there on Monday, according to the White House.

China on Tuesday announced the dispatch of $5.9 million in aid, including specialized urban rescue workers, medical teams and emergency equipment, according to state media in Beijing.

According to the Turkish president, a total of 45 countries have offered their help.

"WHO is dispatching three charter flights to both countries with medical supplies, including major surgical trauma kits, from our logistics hub in Dubai"-@DrTedros #Türkiye #Syria #EB152

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) February 7, 2023

► To read also: 

Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria: the international community is mobilizing

Aid that must go to all Syrians

On the other hand, in Syria, the appeal launched by the authorities in Damascus was mainly heard by its Russian ally, promising rescue teams "

in the next few hours

", while according to the army, more than 300 Russian soldiers are already at the scene to help the emergency services.

The UN also reacted, but insisted that the aid provided would go "

to all Syrians throughout the territory

", part of which is not under government control.

In these rebel-held areas, bordering Turkey in northwestern Syria, at least 700 dead have been counted.

Taking advantage of the chaos created by the earthquake, around

20 suspected fighters

from the Islamic State (IS) group escaped from a military prison in Rajo, controlled by pro-Turkish rebels.

WHO fears much higher death tolls

The balance sheets on both sides of the border have continued to increase and given the extent of the damage, they should increase as the search progresses.

In Turkey alone, the authorities have counted nearly five thousand collapsed buildings.

And the drastic drop in temperatures puts the injured, trapped in the ruins, at an additional risk of hypothermia.

The World Health Organization has said itself that it expects the worst and fears "

tolls eight times higher than the initial numbers


During the day on Monday, no less than 185 aftershocks were recorded, following the first two tremors: one of 7.8 occurring in the middle of the night, the other, of magnitude 7.5, at midday, the two in southeastern Turkey.

Several aftershocks were recorded in the night, Tuesday before dawn.

The strongest, of magnitude 5.5, was recorded at 6:13 a.m. (local time) 9 kilometers southeast of Gölbasi, in the south of the country.

Dormitories have been opened by the local authorities in gymnasiums or colleges or even in mosques to accommodate the survivors.

But for fear of new earthquakes, many residents preferred to spend the night outside, as in Sanliurfa, in southeastern Turkey.

This earthquake is the largest in Turkey since the earthquake of August 17, 1999, which caused the death of 17,000 people, including a thousand in Istanbul.

The Turkish head of state has declared national mourning for seven days and the closure of schools for the week.





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  • Syria

  • Natural disasters