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Updates from Earthquake in Turkey & Syria: Over 46,000 Dead

More than 46,000 people have died in the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise. In Turkey, some 264,000 apartments have been destroyed, and many people are still missing as rescuers search for signs of life under the rubble.

A photo from the earthquake zone
A photo from the earthquake zone

Rescue Efforts Continue Despite Growing Concerns

As Turkey tries to manage its worst modern disaster, the World Food Programme (WFP) is pressuring authorities in northwest Syria to stop blocking access to the area. Despite the cooperation between the Syrian and Turkish governments, WFP operations are being hampered in northwestern Syria, where the agency needs more stocks and calls for more border crossings to be opened from Turkey.

Search and rescue efforts in the earthquake zone
Search and rescue efforts in the earthquake zone

Survivors Pulled from Rubble

Twelve days after the quake hit, workers from Kyrgyzstan tried to save a Syrian family of five from the rubble of a building in Antakya city in southern Turkey. Three people, including a child, were rescued alive, but the child died from dehydration.

Public Health Concerns

While many international rescue teams have left the quake zone in Turkey, domestic teams are still searching for survivors. Medics and experts are concerned about the possible spread of infection in the area where thousands of buildings have collapsed, and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged.

Fahrettin Koca, Turkish Health Minister
Fahrettin Koca, Turkish Health Minister

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca says that although there has been a rise in intestinal and upper respiratory infections, the numbers do not pose a serious threat to public health. Aid organizations say the survivors will need help for months with so much crucial infrastructure destroyed.

Anger Grows Over Flawed Urban Development

For families still waiting to retrieve relatives in Turkey, there is growing anger over what they see as corrupt building practices and deeply flawed urban development that resulted in thousands of homes and businesses collapsing. Turkey has promised to investigate anyone suspected of responsibility for the collapse of buildings and has ordered the detention of more than 100 suspects, including developers.