More Than 34,000 People Have Died Across Turkey and Syria After Devastating Earthquakes

Members of a Greek rescue team work on the site of a collapsed building, as the search for survivors continues, in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake, in Hatay, Turkey February 11, 2023. REUTERS/Kemal Aslan
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SUMMARY

  • More than 34,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria last Monday, officials said.
  • A woman was recued after 175 hours under the rubble, among the latest in a series of harrowing stories of success as workers in Turkey continue to search for survivors.
  • Rescue operations are over in rebel-held areas of northwest Syria, the White Helmets volunteer organization said. Relief efforts there have been complicated by a long-running civil war.

From Eyad Kourdi in Gaziantep, Turkey

CNN- The death toll across Turkey and Syria following Monday’s catastrophic earthquake has reached at least 34,179 on Sunday.

The death toll in Turkey has reached 29,605, Turkish Emergency Coordination Center SAKOM said Sunday.

The confirmed death toll in Syria is 4,574. That number includes more than 3,160 in opposition-held parts of northwestern Syria, according to the health ministry of the Salvation Government governance authority.

The Syrian death toll also includes 1,414 deaths in government-controlled parts of Syria, according to state news agency SANA.

 

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Children orphaned by the quake in Turkey and Syria face an uncertain future

From CNN’s Sophie Tanno

A baby began her life surrounded by chaos and devastation this week.

Reportedly named Aya — meaning “miracle” in Arabic — she was born under the rubble of last Monday’s deadly earthquake, still attached to her mother’s lifeless body by the umbilical cord when rescue workers found her.

Her story certainly seems miraculous, as she survived for more than 10 hours under the wreckage of her family’s five-story apartment building in northern Syria after it was leveled to the ground during the pre-dawn 7.8 magnitude quake.

“We heard a voice while we were digging,” the baby’s cousin, Khalil al-Suwadi told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday. “We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord (intact), so we cut it and my cousin took her to hospital.”

Tragically, the baby’s mother did not survive and is thought to have died hours after giving birth. In fact, the newborn is believed to be the sole survivor of her immediate family, her cousin told the news agency.

Orphan Aya —  who was reportedly named by medics —  is now receiving treatment at a children’s hospital in the nearby town of Afrin, where pediatrician Hani Maarouf told AFP that she is stable but arrived with bruises, lacerations and hypothermia.

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Israeli aid group leaves Turkey due to “immediate” security threat

From CNN’s Hadas Gold in Jerusalem

Israeli search-and-rescue group United Hatzalah is leaving Turkey after six days on the ground due to a “significant security threat” targeting the group, it announced Sunday.

United Hatzalah chief executive Eli Pollack and vice president of operations Dov Maisel said in a statement they had “received intelligence of a concrete and immediate threat on the Israeli delegation and we have to put the security of our personnel first.”

“We knew that there was a certain level of risk in sending our team to this area of Turkey, which is close to the Syrian border but we took the necessary steps in order to mitigate the threat for the sake of our lifesaving mission,” Maisel said.

The decision came following a “a joint situational assessment with the heads of the [Israel Defense Forces] Home Front Command and Search and Rescue Units which took place on Saturday night,” they said.

Due to the speed of the group’s departure and “lack of available planes,” Miriam Adelson —  the widow of the late American Republican megadonor Sheldon Adelson — donated her private jet to fly the team back to Israel on Sunday.

“We are extremely proud of what our team has accomplished in just a few days, assisting in the rescue of 15 individuals in cooperation with the IDF Home Front Command, Israel’s Search and Rescue units, local rescue forces, and the Turkish Red Cross,” Maisel said. “I want to thank Dr. Adelson for assisting us in bringing our people back quickly and safely.”

A second Israeli aid group, IsraAid, continues to operate in Turkey.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces team in Turkey to see whether it is also departing.

 

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