Desperate searches for survivors from multiple earthquakes that rocked Turkey and Syria over the past 48-hours continued Tuesday with the discovery of more bodies taking the death toll past 5,000.
There are fears that toll will rise inexorably, with some relief agency officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died, AFP reports.
Recep Tayyip Erdan, Turkish President, declared seven days national mourning Monday night to reflect the severity of the death and destruction.
The earthquake that struck the Earth was so strong it was felt even as far as Greenland. Its impact was large enough to spark a global response.
The head of the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) said he was especially concerned about areas of Turkey and Syria from which no information had emerged following a major earthquake that killed thousands.
“We’re especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the W.H.O.’s executive board meeting in Geneva. “Damage mapping is one way to understand where we need to focus our attention.”
Countries around the world dispatched teams to assist in the rescue efforts, and Turkey’s disaster management agency said more than 24,400 emergency personnel were now on the ground, AP reports.
But with such a wide swath of territory hit by Monday’s earthquake and nearly 6,000 buildings confirmed to have collapsed in Turkey alone, their efforts were spread thin.
According to latest statistics from Turkish authorities, at least 3381 people died in 10 Turkish provinces and more than 21,000 were injured.
According to Health Ministry figures, the death toll from government-held Syria rose to 769, and there were some 1,450 injuries. In the country’s rebel-held northwest, groups that operate there said at least 450 people died, with many hundreds injured.
Authorities fear the death toll will keep climbing as the rescuers look for survivors among tangles of metal and concrete spread across the region beset by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.
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