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Turkey earthquake: Biden dials Erdogan, vows to "provide any and all" assistance

Washington: US President Joe Biden on Monday (local time) reaffirmed the readiness of America to provide any and all needed assistance to Turkey to recover from the devastating earthquakes.
In a telephone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Biden vowed US assistance to NATO ally Turkey. "He reaffirmed the readiness of the United States to provide any and all needed assistance to our NATO ally Turkey in response to this tragedy," the White House said in a statement on Biden's call with Erdogan.
"President Biden expressed condolences on behalf of the American people to those who were injured or lost loved ones in the earthquakes," it read.
According to latest estimates, over 4,000 people have been killed due to the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
At least 4,372 deaths have been confirmed dead according to officials and agencies.
Turkey's toll rose to 2,921 as of Tuesday morning, according to Yunus Sezer, Turkey's head of disaster services.
A total of 15,834 injuries have been reported, Sezer said in a news conference in Ankara.
Sezer said he would provide a more comprehensive update at 6 am local time (10 pm ET).
In Syria, 1,451 deaths and 3,531 injuries have been reported by officials, reported CNN.
Biden noted that US teams are deploying quickly to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and coordinate other assistance that may be required by people affected by the earthquakes, including health services or basic relief items, added the readout.
The earthquake -- felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt -- occurred in Kahramanmaras province, north of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.
Rescue efforts are ongoing, and the number of people killed, injured and displaced probably will climb, reported Washington Post.
On Monday, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 centered in the Pazarcik district jolted Kahramanmaras and hit several provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis, as per the Anadolu Agency report.
Later in the day, an earthquake of 7.6 magnitudes centered in Kahramanmaras's Elbistan district jolted the region. The earthquake was also felt in neighbouring countries, including Lebanon and Syria.
The third earthquake of magnitude 6.0 on the Richter scale hit Goksun, Turkey on Monday, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said.
It is the strongest earthquake to hit Turkey in more than 80 years. Thousands of emergency responders have been searching for people amid the rubble of collapsed buildings, and medical teams have been tending to the injured. The full scale of the damage is still being determined, reported Washington Post.
CNN reported that thousands of buildings collapsed in both countries and aid agencies are particularly worried about northwestern Syria, where more than 4 million people were already relying on humanitarian assistance.
According to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, who spoke during a news conference carried out live on CNN Turk on Monday evening from Hatay Emergency Coordination Center, the weather and the scale of the disaster are creating challenges for aid teams.
"The weather conditions and the scale of the disaster make it hard for our teams to reach the region," Koca said, adding "our helicopters could not take off today due to weather conditions."
"Heavy snowstorms have also recently hit parts of Syria and Turkey, with further sub-zero temperatures forecasted," UNICEF said in a statement released on Monday.
All state institutions have been mobilized in the recovery effort, including the national police, municipal workers, the Disaster and Emergency Management Agency and the Gendarmerie, an armed general law enforcement organization part of Interior Ministry that maintains security and safety. (ANI)

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