“It’s Now A Race Against Time”: Turkey-Syria Earthquake Deaths Top 8,300

Turkey Syria Earthquake: Officials and medics say 5,894 people have died in Turkey and 2,470 in Syria, bringing the total to 8,364.

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In Turkey and Syria, rescuers fought bitter cold to find survivors under buildings flattened by an earthquake that killed more than 8,300.

There have been 8,364 deaths in Turkey and 2,470 in Syria, officials said.

International aid began to arrive as people on the streets burned debris to stay warm as tremors inflicted more suffering on a conflict-ridden border area.

In Syria, a newborn baby was pulled alive from rubble, still tied to her dead mother by her umbilical cord.

Khalil al-Suwadi, a relative, told AFP they heard a voice. After clearing the dust, we found the baby with an intact umbilical cord, so we cut it and took her to the hospital.”

She’s the only survivor of her immediate family, the rest were killed in Jindayris.

People were sleeping when the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck, flattening thousands of structures, trapping an unknown number of people, and potentially affecting millions.

Near the epicentre of the earthquake, between Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras, whole rows of buildings collapsed, leaving some of the worst damage.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 southeastern provinces Tuesday.

The kids are freezing –

The United States, China, and the Gulf States have all pledged help, and search teams and relief supplies are flying in.

Yet people in some of the hardest-hit areas said they felt left to their own devices.

Look around here. There isn’t a state official here, for God’s sake,” said Ali Sagiroglu in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras.

“We haven’t seen the state around here for two days… Children are freezing,” he said.

In some regions, a winter storm has made many roads impassable, resulting in traffic jams that stretch for kilometres.

Survivors buried under debris and people forced from their homes are both at risk from the cold rain and snow.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it’s a race against time.

“We’ve activated WHO’s network of emergency medical teams to help the injured and most vulnerable.”

23 million people could be affected –

A total of 7,306 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria, according to the latest toll.

WHO officials estimate up to 20,000 people may have died, with the number expected to rise inexorably.

WHO warned that up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake and urged nations to rush help to the disaster zone.

The Syrian Red Crescent appealed to Western countries to lift sanctions and provide aid as President Bashar al-Assad’s government remains a pariah in the West, complicating international relief efforts.

Washington and the European Commission said on Monday that humanitarian programmes supported by them were responding to the destruction in Syria.

After two sites on its World Heritage list in Syria and Turkey were damaged, UNESCO said it was ready to help.

Aside from Aleppo’s old city and Diyarbakir’s fortress, at least three other World Heritage sites could be damaged, UNESCO said.

Years of war and aerial bombardment by Syrian and Russian forces have already decimated much of the quake-hit area of northern Syria.

Searching for survivors in the quake-devastated town of Jandairis in northern Syria was done with bare hands and pickaxes.

Listen to their voices –

The whole family is under there — my sons, my daughters, my son-in-law… There’s no one else to rescue them,” said Ali Battal, his face streaked with blood and his head swaddled in a wool shawl.

“I hear their voices. I know they’re alive, but no one’s rescuing them,” said the man in his 60s.

Syria’s health ministry reported damage in Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Tartus, where Russia leases a naval base.

There was always a risk of buildings collapsing in Aleppo, Syria’s pre-war commercial hub.

At least 20 prisoners escaped from a jail holding mostly Islamic State group members in northwestern Syria following the earthquake.

The earthquake zone in Turkey is one of the most active in the world.

33,000 people died in the eastern Erzincan province in 1939 from a 7.8-magnitude tremor.

In 1999, a 7.4-magnitude earthquake killed over 17,000 people in the Turkish region of Duzce.

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