Rescuers work for second day to find quake survivors as death toll risesExBulletin
ISTANBUL Rescue workers blazed across Turkey and Syria on Tuesday in a second day of racing to find survivors of the massive earthquake and multiple aftershocks that leveled thousands of buildings across the region and took the confirmed toll of deaths going to 5,000 people.
Freezing winter temperatures and dozens of aftershocks from Monday morning’s 7.8-magnitude earthquake hampered efforts to sift through the rubble of buildings and find survivors at risk of hypothermia as temperatures dropped below 27 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the city of Adana, where at least 11 buildings had collapsed, NPR’s Ruth Sherlock stood outside a 15-story apartment building that collapsed. Distraught relatives saw rescue workers searching for survivors under the rubble in frigid temperatures, and Sherlock spoke to two elderly women and a man who were hugging each other and crying after one of their daughters had died. “She was happy,” said one of them, “We couldn’t imagine it would end like this.”
By midday Tuesday, the death toll in Turkey and Syria had surpassed 5,100, including 3,419 in Turkey, with another 20,534 people injured in the country, the Associated Press reported. Another 1,602 people have been confirmed dead on the Syrian side of the border. Officials warned that the number will continue to rise; The World Health Organization said the death toll in both countries could eventually exceed 20,000.
The earthquake struck at 4:17 a.m. local time in Turkey’s Gaziantep province the US Geological Survey said. It developed on the East Anatolian fault, the boundary between the Anatolian plate, the African plate and the Arabian plate of the Earth’s crust. The largest aftershock, measuring 7.5, occurred nearly 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) away from the epicenter of the initial earthquake on another fault line.
About 13.5 million people were affected in 10 provinces in Turkey, according to the government. More than 7,800 people in Turkey have been rescued. The government also said more than 11,000 buildings were damaged.
Dozens of countries around the world, including the US, sent teams to help with rescue efforts, and Turkey’s government said more than 13,000 rescue workers had left Istanbul to help those affected in the region by late morning. on Tuesday.
The toll from the earthquake and aftershocks devastated a region already reeling from more than a decade of civil war in Syria, a conflict that has prompted more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees to enter Turkey to escape the fighting. About 4.1 million people in the affected region were already receiving UN humanitarian aid.
Aid groups in the region say the only crossing between Turkey and Syria approved by the UN for transporting international aid has been unusable since the earthquake struck, further hampering efforts.
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