Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll crosses 8,700
Ankara: The death toll from the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday has risen to 8,764, according to officials, reported CNN.
At least 6,234 people have died in Turkey, while at least 2,530 have been killed in Syria. At least 34,810 people have been injured in Turkey, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Tuesday, while in Syria A total of 4,654 injuries have been reported.
The search for survivors of the terrible earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday continues on Wednesday. Foreign aid from multiple countries has started arriving in the region.
Rescuers are racing to pull survivors from earthquake rubble before they succumb to cold weather in southern Turkey and war-ravaged northern Syria. As the death toll climbed, despair and anger were growing over the pace of rescue efforts, reported Khaleej Times.
After a series of earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria, many tried to flee the devastated city of Gaziantep, located about 33km (20 miles) from the epicentre.
With the airport and many roads outside the city blocked, those who were unable to leave took refuge on Tuesday in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centres.
"When I thought of leaving the city, it was already too late," 25-year-old Yunus Koser told Al Jazeera.
Koser, who took shelter in Sih Fetullah square with his mother and brother, was working a night shift in the Ibrahimli neighbourhood - one of the city's most affected areas - when the first earthquake hit early on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Red Crescent has called on Western countries to lift sanctions on the country to facilitate relief efforts.
"Lift the economic sanctions imposed on Syria and the Syrian people," said Khaled Hboubati, president of the Syrian Red Crescent.
"Open the way for us. We are ready to provide assistance. We are ready to provide aid through the crossline and to send aid convoys to Idlib," he told reporters.
"I call on the United Nations, and the countries on the European Union and the USAID Program to support," he added.
The Syrian government remains under heavy sanctions aimed at isolating the country economically in response to widely documented human rights violations since the war started in 2011.
The colossal mission to find survivors in Gaziantep has been ongoing for more than 50 hours, with some rescuers using nothing more than their hands to dig through concrete and debris in the southern Turkish city, reported CNN.
Bulldozers and workers wearing helmets are ploughing through the mountainous pile of broken concrete, as plumes of dust surround them.
But they are worried about the infrastructure of buildings either side the rubble, which have been compromised following Monday's devastating quake -- and could still collapse.
The quake, one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, struck 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) east of Nurdagi, in Turkey's Gaziantep province, at a depth of 24.1 kilometers (14.9 miles), the US Geological Survey said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month-long state of emergency in 10 provinces as rescuers race against time in Turkey and Syria following Monday's devastating earthquake.
As support arrives from around the world, the scale of the humanitarian crisis is becoming clearer and aid agencies are warning of the difficulties in both reaching survivors and treating the injured. (ANI)