Themacforums, February 7, Turkey – Turkish Leader Declares State of Emergency as Turkey-Syria Quake Death Toll Passes 5,100. Tuesday saw the declaration of an emergency by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in ten provinces hit by two earthquakes that left more than 5,100 people dead and a path of devastation across a large stretch of southern Turkey and neighboring Syria.
A day after the earthquakes, rescuers were battling against time to extract people from the wreckage of collapsed buildings while working in difficult conditions.
The number of fatalities appeared to be signed on the rise as the disaster’s scope became more and more clear. It was thought that thousands of youngsters may have been slaughtered, according to a UN official.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake, the deadliest in Turkey since 1999, and another one an hour later destroyed hundreds of structures, destroyed hospitals and schools, and left tens of thousands of people injured or homeless in many Turkish and Syrian cities.
Rescue operations and the distribution of relief were impeded by the harsh winter weather, which also made the situation for the homeless considerably worse. There were fuel and energy shortages in several locations.
Aid workers expressed particular worry about the situation in Syria, which is already experiencing a humanitarian crisis following a nearly 12-year civil war.
In a speech on Tuesday, Erdogan named the 10 affected Turkish regions a disaster area and proclaimed a three-month rule of emergency there. As a result, the president and cabinet will be able to adopt new laws without consulting parliament and restricting or suspending rights and freedoms.
In order to temporarily lodge those affected by the earthquakes, the government intended to open hotels in Antalya, a popular tourist destination to the west, according to Erdogan, who will be running for president in a three-month election.
Erdogan reported that 3,549 people had died in Turkey. The government and rescue service in the northwest of the country, which is controlled by the insurgency, put the death toll in Syria at just over 1,600.
“EVERY MOMENT, EVERY HOUR”
Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east, and Malatya in the north to Hatay in the south, are about 450 km (280 miles) and 300 km, respectively, of the impacted area, according to Turkish authorities. Deaths have been reported by Syrian officials as far south as Hama, around 100 kilometers from the epicenter.
Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated in Geneva that “it is now a race against time.” The likelihood of discovering a survivor alive decreases with each minute and hour that passes.
Rescue workers searched for survivors across the area all night and into the morning while residents waited in agony by piles of rubble, holding onto the hope that friends and family may be discovered alive.
A woman was heard pleading for assistance behind a mound of rubble in Antakya, the Turkish city that serves as the provincial seat of Hatay, which is close to the Syrian border. Journalists from Reporters discovered a young child’s lifeless body nearby.
A local named Deniz clutched his fists in despair while sobbing in the rain.
He said, “They’re making noises, but nobody is coming.” “We are absolutely sad. My God… They are shouting. Despite their pleas for help, we are unable to intervene. How will we be able to rescue them? Since the morning, nobody has been present.”
Families spent the night in cars parked in rows on the streets.
Ayla claimed she had driven from Gaziantep to Hatay on Monday in search of her mother as she stood amid a pile of debris where an eight-story building formerly stood. In the rubble, rescuers from the Istanbul fire department were at work.
She stated, “There haven’t been any survivors yet.”
20,426 people were injured and 5,775 buildings were demolished, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
On Tuesday, a sizable fire was still raging at the Iskenderun port in southern Turkey. The number of collapsed apartment buildings visible in drone footage from Hatay suggested that the actual death toll was probably much higher than the current estimate.
James Elder, a spokesman for UNICEF, warned in Geneva that “thousands of children may have died” as a result of the earthquakes.
He said that hundreds of schools, hospitals, and other healthcare and educational buildings had been destroyed or damaged.
The most susceptible individuals were Syrian refugees in Turkey and northwest Syria, according to Elder.
According to Abdallah al Dahan, Tuesday saw the funerals of numerous families in the Syrian city of Hama.
The scene is horrific in every way, according to Dahan, who was reached via phone. Despite everything that has occurred to us, “I have never seen something like this in my entire life.”
Mosques welcomed families whose homes had suffered damage. 812 people have died in areas controlled by the Syrian government, according to the state news agency SANA. According to the Syrian civil defense, often known as the White Helmets, rescue organizations famous for rescuing people from the wreckage of government airstrikes, the death toll in the rebel-held northwest was over 790.
Group leader Raed al-Saleh said, “Our teams are making a lot of efforts, but they are unable to respond to the calamity and the significant number of destroyed structures.”
He emphasized that urgent assistance from international organizations was required to save the hundreds of families who were trapped beneath the debris of collapsed buildings.
A U.N. humanitarian representative in Syria claimed that the inclement weather and fuel shortages were hurdles.
El-Mostafa Benzamil, the resident coordinator for the United Nations in Syria, told Reporters from Damascus that “the infrastructure is broken and the highways that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged.”
Attempts to evaluate the impact and prepare assistance was hampered by poor internet connectivity and damaged roadways between some of the worst-affected Turkish cities, which are home to millions of people.