Death toll from Turkey and Syria earthquakes tops 47,000

Death toll from Turkey and Syria earthquakes tops 47,000

A destroyed building is seen leaning over a nearby house following a series of earthquakes in Samandag, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Survivors of the earthquakes that rocked Turkey and the Syria 15 days earlier, killing tens of thousands and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless, faced more trauma and pain on Tuesday after another earthquake on Tuesday and several aftershocks in the region.

The death toll from the series of earthquakes that struck parts of Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6 continued to rise as more bodies were recovered from ruins. Another magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck the battered province of Hatay this week damaged or collapsed new buildings, adding to the devastation.


Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Thursday raised the death toll in Turkey from the 7.8-magnitude quake to 43,556.

The total number between Turkey and Syria has already reached 47,244.

In an interview with state television TRT on Wednesday night, Soylu said search teams were still working in two buildings in the hard-hit province of Hatay looking for more bodies. Search operations elsewhere had ended, he said.

At least 164,000 buildings have collapsed or are so damaged they need to be demolished, said Murat Kurum, Turkey’s environment and urbanization minister.


Thousands of children and tens of thousands of families have taken refuge in cars and tents “for fear of a repeat of the earthquake”, the local civil defense organization in northwest Syria has said. known as the White Helmets.

In the area controlled by the government of Syria, a first plane from Bahrain with aid supplies landed in Damascus. The Persian Gulf kingdom is among many Arab countries that have tried in recent years to improve relations with President Bashar Assad, whom they disavowed in 2011 for his brutal crackdown on protesters.

Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two key US allies in the region, have also provided assistance.

Melissa Galbraith
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