Ns News Online Desk: Monday’s powerful earthquakes that rocked south
eastern Türkiye and Syria could affect up to 23 million people, including 1.4 million children, according to a World Health Organization (WHO) estimate on Tuesday.
Türkiye had a strong capacity to tackle the crisis that emerged following the magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes that shook its southern provinces, WHO’s senior emergencies officer Adelheid Marschang told the U.N. health agency’s executive committee earlier in Geneva.
Yet, she noted, additional immediate and midterm support will be needed across the border in Syria already suffering under a years long humanitarian crisis due to civil war and a cholera outbreak.
“This is a crisis on top of multiple crises in the affected region,” Marschang said of Syria, noting the country’s needs were mounting after “nearly 12 years of protracted, complex crisis, while humanitarian funding continues to decline.”
WHO also said it was dispatching emergency supplies, including trauma and emergency surgical kits, and activating a network of emergency medical teams.
“It’s now a race against time,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes.”
At least 3,549 people were killed and 22,168 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye due to two strong earthquakes that jolted the southern part of the country, an official from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said on Tuesday.
Early Monday morning, a powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province and strongly shook several other provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay and Kilis.
Then at 1.24 p.m. (10:24 a.m. GMT), a 7.6 magnitude quake centered in the Elbistan district of Kahramanmaras struck the region.
Türkiye’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Tuesday that more than 8,000 people had been rescued from the rubble so far.
A total of 3,294 search and rescue personnel reached Türkiye from 14 countries, including Azerbaijan and Russia, the vice president said. The earthquakes were also felt in several countries in the region, including Lebanon.