Turkey and Syria Earthquake News Live Updates: According to news agency AP, the number of deaths has surpassed the toll in a 2011 earthquake off Japan that triggered a tsunami, killing more than 18,400 people.
Turkey Earthquake News Live Updates, February 09: Rescue efforts continued on Thursday as the death toll neared 20,000, but hopes of finding survivors diminished on the fourth day of rescue workers. The combined death toll in Turkey and Syria from Monday’s devastating earthquake has risen to 19,823, The Guardian reported. The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, announced that 16,546 had died. In Syria, already devastated by nearly 12 years of civil war, more than 3,000 people have died, according to the government and a rescue service in the rebel-held northwest. President Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday admitted there were problems with his government’s initial response to a devastating earthquake in southern Turkey.
Meanwhile, the first United Nations convoy carrying emergency aid to a rebel-held area of Syria stricken three days ago by a deadly earthquake crossed from Turkey on Thursday. The trucks, with materials from jerrycans to blankets, went via the Bab Al Hawa crossing to Idlib city in an area of northwest Syria where 4 million people, many uprooted by civil war, had relied on aid even before Monday’s quake.
As a part of India’s ‘Operation Dosth’, the sixth plane carrying rescue personnel, essentials and medical equipment for earthquake relief efforts reached Turkey on Thursday. The sixth flight carried more rescue teams, dog squads, and essential medicines for the quake-hit country.
UN chief pushes for more aid access to Syria from Turkey
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday pushed for more humanitarian aid access to northwestern Syria from Turkey, saying he would be “very happy” if the United Nations could use more than one border crossing to deliver help after a deadly earthquake struck the region this week.
The Syrian government views the delivery of aid to the rebel-held northwest from Turkey as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Since 2014 the United Nations has had a UN Security Council mandate allowing it to reach millions of people in need in the area via one crossing.
Speaking to reporters in New York, Guterres said now was the time to explore all possible avenues to aid and personnel into the area affected by the earthquake, which struck early on Monday morning and has killed at least 19,000 people in Turkey and Syria.
“Many non-UN relief agencies are already delivering through other crossings,” Guterres told reporters. “I will be very happy if, in relation to the UN, there will be the possibility to do it also in as many crossings as possible.” Guterres did not say whether he has specifically asked the Syrian government to allow aid deliveries through more border crossings, but he did reference the 15-member UN Security Council’s ability to approve such a measure. (Reuters)
Express View: Reaching out
India has made the right call by sending rescue and relief assistance to Turkey and Syria after the earthquake that has killed thousands in the affected areas of both countries, more on the Turkish side. Amid the frighteningly high toll, it is only right that all members of the international community pitch in with help to the best of their ability.
It is in keeping with India’s best tradition of being an early responder to natural disasters and calamities in its immediate neighbourhood, and of late, in other parts of the world as well. While Delhi has stepped in with assistance frequently in the South Asian region, it also reached out with relief supplies and teams from the National Disaster Relief Force and medical teams to Japan during the 2011 tsunami, and to the United States in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. This time, too, teams of Army medics and personnel of the NDRF along with medical supplies have been sent to southern Turkey, and to northern Syria.
Charlie Hebdo earthquake cartoon triggers angry reaction
A new cartoon published by the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo has sparked strong reactions on social media.
Tweeted on Monday, the cartoon by artist Pierrick Juin is captioned “Earthquake in Turkey,” and shows heaps of rubble and collapsing buildings, along with a second caption: “Don’t even need to send tanks.”
Many users reacted with anger, saying the cartoon makes light of the tragedy that has killed at least 19,000 people, leaving many more homeless.
Reactions on Twitter, in Turkish, French and some in English, ranged from decrying what is perceived as “hate speech,” “stupid” and “racist” to calling the magazine a “disgrace to humanity” for publishing the cartoon. (DW)
Turkish donors order container homes for earthquake survivors
Turkish donors are ordering hundreds of containers for delivery to areas struck by two massive earthquakes, as the disaster forced tens of thousands of people to stay outside their homes in freezing cold.
Istanbul-based Karmod said it’s stopped exports to keep pace with the surge in demand from donors in Turkey, according to Mehmet Cankaya, the company’s chief executive.
“We’ve doubled output to 50 container homes per day. Three hundred workers are working round the clock to build them,” he said by phone. (Bloomberg)
Meanwhile in Indonesia: Quake kills four
Four people died in the town of Jayapura in Papua, eastern Indonesia, after a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck the area at around 3 p.m. local time, with a shallow depth of 10 kilometers.
The four were found in a collapsed cafeteria building, says the National Disaster Mitigation Agency, known as BNPB, in a statement. Homes, public facilities and health facilities were also damaged by quake, which was felt for 2 to 3 seconds. (Bloomberg)
Turkey turns to tents and tourist resorts to house quake’s homeless
Turkey is grappling with one of the biggest challenges from the earthquake that flattened a swathe of its towns and cities: how to shelter hundreds of thousands of people left homeless in the middle of winter.
Banks of tents are being erected in stadiums and shattered city centres, and Mediterranean and Aegean beach resorts outside the quake zone that use the winter months to prepare for summer tourism are opening up hotel rooms for evacuees.
The country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority has established meeting points for homeless people wanting to be evacuated from the quake zone. It calculates that more than 28,000 people have been brought out so far, with nearly 5,000 leaving by road and more than 23,000 by plane. (Reuters)
Earthquake stuns Syria’s Aleppo even after war’s horrors
For years, the people of Aleppo bore the brunt of bombardment and fighting when their city, once Syria’s largest and most cosmopolitan, was among the civil war’s fiercest battle zones. Even that didn’t prepare them for the new devastation and terror wreaked by this week’s earthquake.
The natural disaster piled on many human-made ones, multiplying the suffering in Aleppo and Syria more broadly.
Fighting largely halted in Aleppo in 2016, but only a small number of the numerous damaged and destroyed buildings had been rebuilt. The population has also more recently struggled with Syria’s economic downslide, which has sent food prices soaring and residents thrown into poverty. The shock of the quake is all too much.
Hovig Shehrian said that during the worst of the war in Aleppo, in 2014, he and his parents fled their home in a front-line area because of the shelling and sniper fire. For years, they moved from neighborhood to neighborhood to avoid the fighting. “It was part of our daily routine. Whenever we heard a sound, we left, we knew who to call and what to do,” the 24-year-old said. “But … we didn’t know what to do with the earthquake. I was worried we were going to die.” (AP)