The earthquake that shook Turkey and Syria on Monday killed more than 8,300 people, including 2,400 on the Syrian side, according to the latest official reports published on Wednesday.
Authorities in both countries reported that 5,894 people died in Turkey and 2,470 in Syria, bringing the total death toll to 8,364.
In freezing cold, rescuers continue to race against time to try to rescue survivors of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck at dawn on Monday and shook southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria.
Bad weather is complicating the task of rescue and the Turkish Interior Minister warned on Tuesday that the next 48 hours would be “crucial” to find survivors.
Survivors take refuge at the airport
In Gaziantep, a city located very close to the epicenter of the earthquake, a resident has already lost hope of finding her aunt alive, buried under the rubble. ” It’s too late. Now we are waiting for our dead,” she said.
International aid has started to arrive in Turkey where national mourning has been declared for seven days. The death toll there currently stands at 5,894. This is already the worst death toll that Turkey has known since 1999, when 17,000 people died, including a thousand in Istanbul.
For fear of returning home, survivors have sought refuge at Turkey’s Gaziantep airport. “Now our lives are so marked by uncertainty. How am I going to take care of these children? asks Zahide Sutcu, who fled his apartment with his two young children.
Twenty-three million people are “potentially exposed, including around five million vulnerable people”, warned the World Health Organization (WHO).