Earthquake death toll exceeds 41,000 in Turkey and Syria

The death toll from the 7

Earthquake death toll exceeds 41,000 in Turkey and Syria

The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on February 6 exceeded 41,000, the day the UN launched an appeal for help to raise a billion dollars to come to the rescue. aid to these two countries.

While the chances of finding survivors are dwindling, official and medical sources have indicated that the total has now reached 41,732 people who have lost their lives: 38,044 in Turkey and 3,688 in Syria.

Turkish rescuers pulled a 17-year-old girl and a woman in her twenties out of the rubble on Thursday, nearly 11 days after the quake devastated the border area between the two countries.

In many towns and villages in both countries, rescuers are still trying to help any survivors, but with each passing hour, the chances that they could survive, in the freezing cold, under the rubble diminish. .

Turkey has therefore suspended rescue operations in some areas and the government of Syria, a country torn by war for twelve years, has done the same in areas it controls.

In Turkey, the toll of the earthquake makes it the deadliest natural disaster in the country's post-Ottoman history.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday launched an appeal for international aid to raise a billion dollars to help the two devastated countries.

"The funding -- which covers a three-month period -- will assist 5.2 million people and allow aid organizations to step up their crucial support for efforts led by the government of" Turkey, stricken by the most devastating earthquake in the country in a century,” Guterres wrote in a statement.

He "urged the international community to do more and fully fund this vital effort to respond to one of the greatest natural disasters of our time."

"Turkey is home to the largest number of refugees in the world and has shown immense generosity towards its neighbor Syria for years," insisted the UN chief.

"Now is the time for the world to support the people of Turkey, as they have simply done with others in search of help", added Mr. Guterres, specifying that "the needs were enormous, (that) people were suffering and (that) there was no time to lose".

On the other hand, ArcelorMittal, the world's second largest steel group --describing a "heartbreaking" situation--announced a donation of $5 million to help victims in Turkey and Syria, via the humanitarian organizations Doctors Without Borders and Disasters Emergency. Committee.

The US State Department announced on Wednesday that the head of US diplomacy Antony Blinken would travel to Turkey on Sunday to see the ongoing humanitarian effort there.

Mr. Blinken must first go to the air base of Incirlik, in the south-east of the country, from where part of the humanitarian aid for the disaster areas leaves, then to Ankara where he has scheduled talks with the Turkish authorities on Sunday and Monday.

16/02/2023 23:40:58 -         Istanbul (AFP)            © 2023 AFP