Turkey Earthquake: Bitter cold has hampered the four-day search of thousands of flattened buildings and the 72-hour mark that experts consider the most likely period to save lives has passed.
Antakya: On Thursday, hopes for finding survivors of the earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria, killing over 17,500 people and making it one of the worst shocks in decades, were dwindling.
The four-day search of thousands of destroyed buildings has been impeded by the bitter weather, and the 72-hour window that experts believe is the most likely to result in lifesaving rescues has passed.
As a sign of the tragedy’s scope, relatives were left searching among corpse bags spread out in a hospital parking lot in Antakya, Turkey, for missing family members.
As other survivors looked for loved ones’ bodies among the corpses, Rania Zaboubi, a Syrian refugee who lost eight family members, stated, “We discovered my aunt, but not my uncle.”
The 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred early on Monday in a region where many people had already lost loved ones and been uprooted because of Syria’s ongoing war. It happened as many were sleeping.
The first relief convoy since the earthquake that has forced survivors to sleep outside owing to aftershock hazards arrived in rebel-held northwest Syria on Thursday, an official at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing told AFP.
Hospitals had already been devastated, the economy had already collapsed, and there had been electricity, fuel, and water shortages due to a decade of civil conflict and aerial bombardment by Syria and Russia.
Thousands of families spent the night in cars and improvised tents in the Turkish city of Gaziantep early on Thursday because they were too afraid to go home or were forbidden from doing so. The temperature there dropped to minus five degrees Celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit).
Because it was warmer than waiting in a tent, parents carried their children on their shoulders as they went through the city, which was close to the epicentre of Monday’s earthquake.
Some individuals have found refuge with neighbours or family members. Some people have departed the area. However, many people are stuck.
The hours of certain stores, mosques, and gyms have changed. However, there are still not enough beds, and thousands of people spend their evenings in automobiles that are running to provide heat.
Melek Halici, a mother of a two-year-old girl, said, “When we sit down, it is painful, and I fear for anyone who is stuck under the rubble in this,” as she and her daughter observed rescuers working late into the night.
After receiving harsh criticism online for the early catastrophe response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited one of the hardest-hit areas, Kahramanmaras, and acknowledged issues.
“Undoubtedly, there are problems. The circumstances are plain to discern. It is impossible to prepare for a catastrophe like this, “Wednesday, he said.
Racing Against The Clock
A 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday claimed the lives of 14,351 people in Turkey and 3,162 in Syria, bringing the verified death toll to 17,513. Experts anticipate a big increase in the number.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the EU, wrote on Twitter, “We are now racing against the clock to save lives together.”
Even though there are fewer chances for rescues, thousands of local and international searchers are still looking for more survivors.
39 Turkish Cypriots, including 20 children and some of their parents, were on a school trip to southeast Turkey’s Adiyaman to participate in a volleyball tournament when the tremor hit their accommodation.
Their home region’s government has declared a national mobilisation, hiring a private plane so they could join the search-and-rescue effort for the children.
Ilhami Bilgen, whose brother Hasan was on the volleyball team, looked at the frightening pile of concrete slabs and heavy bricks that used to be the hotel.
“There’s a hollow over there. The children may have crawled into it,” Bilgen said. “We still haven’t given up hope.”
Dozens of nations, including China and the United States have pledged to help, and search teams as well as relief supplies have already arrived.
In order to mobilise foreign funding for Syria and Turkey, the EU is preparing a donor meeting in Brussels in March.
The purpose of the meeting, according to the European Union, is to “mobilise finances from the world community in support for the people” of both nations. It will be organised in conjunction with Turkish authorities.
After a strong 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey on Monday near the Syrian border, the bloc moved quickly to send rescue personnel to the nation.
However, due to EU sanctions put on President Bashar al-administration Assad’s since 2011 in reaction to his deadly crackdown on demonstrators that descended into a civil war, it first only provided Syria with the barest amount of aid through already-existing humanitarian programmes.