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12,973 people have died in Turkey as Syria deaths near 3,000; most rescues happen within first three days, says emergency response expert.
Turkey toll rises to 12,873 bringing overall deaths to 15,865
Turkey’s death toll has risen to 12,873 overnight, from 12,391 late on Wednesday, the country’s disaster agency said. The most recent figure from Syria stands at 2,992.
This brings the overall number of dead to 15,865.
As 72-hour ‘rescue window’ passes
More than 90% of earthquake survivors are rescued within the first three days, Ilan Kelman, a professor of disasters and health at University College London has told AFP.
It is now just over72 hours since the first earthquake struck Turkey and Syria.
But that number can vary significantly depending on the weather, aftershocks and how quickly rescue teams and equipment can arrive at the scene, all factors which are currently going against efforts in Turkey and Syria.
Over 11,200 people have been killed and thousands more injured after the earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and neighbouring Syria at 04:17 am (0117 GMT) on Monday.
“Generally, earthquakes do not kill people, collapsing infrastructure kills people,” said Kelman, who has published research on quake rescue responses.
The most pressing factor is getting medical attention to people crushed under collapsed buildings before “their bodies fail” or they bleed out, he said.
Weather is also a key factor, and “it is completely against us” in Turkey and Syria, Kelman said. The quake-hit regions have suffered through freezing temperatures as well as rain and snow since Monday.
“This very sadly means that hypothermia is possible, and people are probably unfortunately perishing due to the weather,” Kelman said.
Those who do manage to survive the cold and their injuries still need food and water. Without water, many people “will start dying at the three, four, five day mark,” Kelman said.
Death toll at least 15,000 as crucial 72 hour window passes
Freezing temperatures deepened the misery Thursday for survivors of a massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria that killed at least 15,000 people, as rescuers raced to save countless people still trapped under rubble.
The death toll from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake is expected to rise sharply as rescue efforts near the 72-hour mark that disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives.
Survivors have been left to scramble for food and shelter and in some cases watch helplessly as their relatives called for rescue, and eventually went silent under the debris, AFP reports.
“My nephew, my sister-in-law and my sister-in-law’s sister are in the ruins. They are trapped under the ruins and there is no sign of life,” Semire Coban, a kindergarten teacher, in Turkey’s Hatay told AFP.
“We can’t reach them. We are trying to talk to them, but they are not responding… We are waiting for help. It has been 48 hours now,” she said.
Hello, my name is Helen Sullivan and I’ll be bringing you the latest from the harrowing aftermath of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
Rescuers are racing to save countless people from beneath the rubble, working in freezing temperatures. The death toll from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake is expected to rise sharply as rescue efforts pass the 72-hour mark that disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives.
More than 90% of earthquake survivors are rescued within the first three days, Ilan Kelman, a professor of disasters and health at University College London, told AFP. It has now been more than 72 hours since the first earthquake struck on Monday.
We’ll have more on these stories shortly. In the meantime, here are the key recent developments:
The number of dead has risen to at least 15,383. Officials and medics said 12,391 people had died in Turkey and 2,992 in Syria from Monday’s 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the confirmed total to 15,383.
Visiting Kahramanmaraş, which was at the epicentre of the quake, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “On the first day we experienced some issues, but then on the second day and today the situation is under control”. Erdoğan promised the government aimed to build housing within one year for those left without a home in the 10 provinces affected.
In Syria, more than 298,000 people were forced to leave their homes, Syrian state media reported. The number appeared to be a reference only to the parts of Syria under government control, not those held by other factions in the north-west of the country, which is closer to the epicentre.
The World Health Organization is sending expert teams and special flights with medical supplies to Turkey and Syria, the director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has told a media briefing.
Polish rescuers working in Turkey said they had pulled nine people alive from the rubble so far, including parents with two children and a 13-year-old girl from the ruins in the city of Besni.
Rescue workers and residents erupted in cheers when a family was saved from the rubble of a demolished building in the Syrian village of Bisnia on Wednesday. A man, his son and daughter were pulled out from beneath the rubble where they had been stuck for two days.
Istanbul’s stock exchange operator suspended trading for five days until 15 February and cancelled all trades from Wednesday. Turkey’s Borsa Istanbul suspended trading on its equity and derivatives markets within minutes of opening after market-wide circuit breakers stopped the slide in the main index at 7%. The country’s benchmark index fell as much as 16% from its Friday close before the Wednesday trades were cancelled.
Syria’s government has received help from a host of Arab countries including Egypt and Iraq, as well as from its key ally Russia, which has sent rescue teams and deployed forces already in Syria to join relief work, including in Aleppo.
Syria activated the EU civil protection mechanism, two days after the earthquake, to request further assistance from the 27-country bloc and the eight other nation states that are part of the programme. The European Union mobilised search and rescue teams to help Turkey, while the bloc’s Copernicus satellite system was activated to provide emergency mapping services. At least 19 member countries have offered assistance.
Cold weather continues to affect the region with minimum and maximum temperatures for Kahramanmaraş of -6C and 1C (21-34F), for Gaziantep between -5C and 1C, and Diyarbakır expected to have continued snowfall with temperatures climbing to 2C at most.