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HomeNewsQuake Devastation in Turkey-Syria: 21,000 Dead, Cold Worsens Despair

Quake Devastation in Turkey-Syria: 21,000 Dead, Cold Worsens Despair

Quake Devastation in Turkey-Syria: 21,000 Dead, Cold Worsens Despair

More than 21,000 people have been confirmed dead as a result of Monday’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, though the United Nations warns that the full extent of the disaster is still unknown.

Four days after the first earthquake, rescuers are still searching the rubble for survivors, but optimism is waning.

After losing their homes, tens of thousands of people have spent a fourth night in makeshift shelters.

The Turkish president referred to the earthquake as “the disaster of the century.”

ALSO READ: British Nationals Missing in Turkey-Syria Earthquake

An extensive international relief effort is gaining momentum. The World Bank pledged $1.78 billion (£1.38 billion) in aid to Turkey on Thursday, including immediate funding for the reconstruction of basic infrastructure and assistance for those affected by the earthquakes.

The United States also contributed by pledging $85 million to both countries.

In the meantime, the efforts of 100,000 or more rescue personnel on the ground are hampered by logistical obstacles, such as a lack of vehicles and damaged roads.

Antonio Guterres, the head of the United Nations, warned that the full extent of the catastrophe was still “unfolding before our eyes,”, particularly in Syria, where a protracted civil war has devastated the country.

The first UN humanitarian aid entered northwestern Syria through the Bab al-Hawa crossing in Idlib on Thursday.

The crossing is the only way for UN aid to reach the region without passing through territory governed by the Syrian government.

Mr. Guterres assured that more aid was on the way and urged the UN Security Council to permit the delivery of supplies through multiple border crossings.

“This is the time for unity; it is not the time for partisanship or division, but it is clear that we need massive support,” he said.

ALSO READ: Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: 20,000 Feared Dead, Trapped in Icy Conditions

Munira Mohammad, a mother of four who fled Aleppo, Syria, following the earthquake, told Reuters on Thursday that her family urgently required heating and additional supplies “We were unable to sleep last night because it was so cold. It is terrible.”

The White Helmets rescue organization reported that the lone UN convoy to reach the region lacked the specialized equipment necessary to free people trapped beneath the rubble.

Warnings of a second catastrophe
On Friday, officials reported that 18,342 people had perished in Turkey, surpassing the more than 17,000 who perished when a similar earthquake struck northwest Turkey in 1999.

Earlier information from Syria placed the death toll there at 3,377.

The earthquake is among the deadliest natural disasters of the century, surpassing the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami.

Resat Gozlu, a survivor in south-eastern Turkey who currently resides with his family on the floor of a sports complex, reported that rescue workers did not arrive until three days after the earthquake.

He stated that many are still entombed beneath the rubble and that others perished from hypothermia.

“If this continues, it could lead to severe health problems and illness,” he told the BBC.

ALSO READ: Turkey Earthquake death toll could reach 10,000

The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously warned that a second humanitarian crisis will occur if survivors do not receive shelter, food, water, and medicine “very quickly.”

Regional Director for Europe at the World Health Organization, Dr. Hans Kluge, told the BBC that WHO staff in Gaziantep, Turkey, were sleeping in cars because “there are still hundreds and hundreds of aftershocks.”

Dr. Kluge stated that Syrian communities were dependent on water reservoirs, which fell first. He stated that the reservoirs must be replaced or the country will experience cholera outbreaks, which he claimed was a problem before the earthquake.