The confirmed death toll continues to rise and rescue operations are underway in Turkey and Syria following a huge earthquake.Turkey declared a week’s national mourning.Here’s the latest:
Death toll in Turkey and Syria rises to over 4,300
The death toll from the devastating earthquakes in the Turkish-Syrian border area has risen to more than 4,300.
An official with Turkey’s disaster agency said at least 2,921 people were killed and 15,834 others injured in the south of the country.
And at least 1,400 people have died in Syria, according to the Health Ministry and rescue organization White Helmets.
EU is helping Turkey to cope with the aftermath of earthquakes
Turkey activated the EU civil protection mechanism, a structure designed to deal with manmade and natural disasters, Balazs Ujvari, the spokesperson for humanitarian aid and crisis management at the European Commission, told DW.
Firstly, the EU dispatched almost 20 rescue teams coming from 17 European countries for Turkey.
“They are on their way to Turkey.In fact, some of the teams have already arrived,” Ujvari said.
As a second step, Ujvari said, the EU is looking into the possibility of mobilizing emergency medical teams, which is also part of Turkey’s request for help.
“Some of such offers already have been made by EU member states.For example, there is a Spanish team ready to go,” he said, adding that in the coming hours and days more and more European personnel would be arriving in Turkey.
The situation in Syria, however, is different, as it has not activated the EU civil protection mechanism, Ujvari said.”We would only be able to send such teams if we received a formal request from the Syrian authorities,” he added.
According to the spokesperson, the European Union can operate in Syria through humanitarian operations.
Western countries have limited access to Syria.Russia, an ally of the Syrian government, has a military presence in the Middle Eastern nation.
Turkish and Syrian authorities revise casualty figures
Turkey’s emergency and disaster management agency says the death toll from the quakes has risen to 2,379, with 14,483 injured.
In Syria, authorities have reported 711 deaths in government-controlled areas.
The White Helmets organization in rebel-held Syria said at least 700 people had died.
Search and rescue operations continue after the two major tremors and multiple aftershocks across a broad region in southern Turkey and northern Syria.All the responsible authorities have warned they are likely to find more victims.
Turkish and Syrian authorities revise casualty figures
Turkey’s emergency and disaster management agency says the death toll from the quakes has risen to 2,379, with 14,483 injured.
In Syria, authorities have reported 711 deaths in government-controlled areas.
The White Helmets organization in rebel-held Syria said at least 700 people had died.
Search and rescue operations continue after the two major tremors and multiple aftershocks across a broad region in southern Turkey and northern Syria.All the responsible authorities have warned they are likely to find more victims.
Historic sites in Aleppo, Syria damaged
Some historical buildings were destroyed as a result of the quake in the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, and Tartus, the Syrian Cultural Ministry said.
The most notable damage reported was that which hit the historic Aleppo Citadel, among the world’s oldest and largest castles.
The ministry said it sustained “little to medium” damage, including the collapse of parts of its Ottoman mill, and the destruction of its entrances.The dome of the minaret of the Ayyubid mosque inside the citadel also sustained damage.
Technicians were inspecting the UNESCO-listed Aleppo Old City, the ministry said.
Elsewhere in Hama, the ministry reported the collapse of some historic buildings, as well as parts of the minaret of Imam Ismail Mosque.
Meanwhile in Tartus, parts of the Marqab castle, a medieval fortress near the coast that was a major stronghold for a Christian order of knights during the Crusades, collapsed due to the quake.
Greece offers aid amid diplomatic standoff
The quake in Turkey and a rapid offer of assistance from Greece on Monday prompted the first direct contact between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in months.
“I just spoke to President [Erdogan],” Mitsotakis wrote on Twitter on Monday.”On behalf of the Greek people, I extended my deepest condolences for the devastating loss of life and reiterated our readiness to provide all further assistance necessary.”
Mitsotakis’ office said that Erdogan had thanked the Greek prime minister.
Erdogan had declared 10 months ago that he would sever ties with the Greek leader amid a longstanding dispute over territorial rights in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean.
But on Monday morning Greece was among the first countries to dispatch rescue workers and offer further support as Turkey requested it.
The two NATO members share an exposure to earthquakes, sometimes both suffering from the same tremors near their borders.
They have a past history of cooperation on quake relief which in turn has played a role at times in improving their often-frayed ties.
Erdogan declares 7-day period of national mourning
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the country will observe seven days of national mourning in response to the fatal earthquake.
“A national mourning period has been declared for seven days.Our flag will be hoisted at half-mast until sunset on Sunday, February 12, 2023, in all our national and foreign representative offices,” Erdogan said on Twitter.
Idlib residents hope for international aid
On Idlib’s streets, residents spoke to DW about the horrors they witnessed.One described how he spent hours searching for his friend’s family under debris.
“We kept on searching for them until 6 in the morning.We found his wife and two of his children dead.And this is what people are going through.”
Many called for international support, saying that though immense, the White Helmets’ effort was not enough.
“I hope that humanitarian organizations can just help us remove the debris.

Just equipment and medical help, nothing more,” one said.
Another resident described the moments of the quake, saying: “Horrifying moments that we experienced at 4 in the morningWe have never witnessed such an earthquake.Many buildings collapsed.My family and I survived and the neighbors did too, but five people died here.The civil defense [the White Helmets] is putting in all its effort.This seems to me like it was the Day of Judgment.”
UN appeals for international support
The UN General Assembly observed a minute’s silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.
It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.
“Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.”We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge.”
DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.
UN appeals for international support
The UN General Assembly observed a minute’s silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.
It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.
“Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

“We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge.”
DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.
Ghanaian football star Christian Atsu reportedly among the missing in Turkey
English Premier League club Newcastle United said they were “praying for some positive news” over the fate of its former player Christian Atsu.
The Ghana international winger plays for Turkish side Hatayspor and is reportedly among those trapped under the rubble in Kahramanmaras.
He spent several years with Newcastle and Chelsea before signing with Hatayspor last summer.
The club’s sporting director Taner Savut, was also reportedly missing
Domestic football matches in Turkey have been called off following Monday’s quake.
UN appeals for international support
The UN General Assembly observed a minute’s silence in tribute to the victims on Monday.
It also appealed to other countries to provide assistance to a region already scarred by conflict with only limited access for humanitarian aid.
“Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said”We count on the international community to help the thousands of families hit by this disaster, many of whom were already in dire need of humanitarian aid in areas where access is a challenge.”
DW rounds up the international responses and pledges of support so far in this story.
Ghanaian football star Christian Atsu reportedly among the missing in Turkey
English Premier League club Newcastle United said they were “praying for some positive news” over the fate of its former player Christian Atsu.
The Ghana international winger plays for Turkish side Hatayspor and is reportedly among those trapped under the rubble in Kahramanmaras.
He spent several years with Newcastle and Chelsea before signing with Hatayspor last summer.
The club’s sporting director Taner Savut, was also reportedly missing
Domestic football matches in Turkey have been called off following Monday’s quake.
Turkey deploys nearly 10,000 to help with rescue operations
Turkey’s disaster agency, AFAD, said nearly 9,698 search and rescue personnel had been deployed to help search for survivors.
AFAD said the death toll from the 7.8-magnitude quake that struck the country’s southern region early on Monday had risen to 1,498 people, with at least another 7,634 people injured.
It said a least 2,834 buildings were destroyed in the quake.
On top of other emergency supplies, the agency was also handing out thousands of tents, blankets, and beds to help the survivors cope with the frigid weather.

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