Turkey, Syria earthquake death toll surpasses 5,000 as rescuers search for survivors

Source: FRANCE 24

Rescuers in Turkey and Syria dug with bare hands through the freezing night Tuesday hunting for survivors among the rubble of thousands of buildings felled in a series of violent earthquakes on Monday. The death toll across the two countries reached 5,102 after a swarm of strong tremors occurred near the Turkey-Syria border – the largest of which measured a massive 7.8 in magnitude.

Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said the total number of deaths in Turkey had risen to 3,419, with another 20,534 people injured. That brought the number of people killed to 5,102, with another 1,602 people confirmed dead on the Syrian side of the border.

The head of the World Health Organisation said on Tuesday the WHO was especially concerned about areas of Turkey and Syria from which no information had emerged following a major earthquake that killed thousands.

“We’re especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO’s executive board meeting in Geneva. “Damage mapping is one way to understand where we need to focus our attention.”

Turkish police on Tuesday said they had detained four people over “provocative” social media posts following the earthquake.

The quake struck the region early on Monday, killing more than 4,800 people in Turkey and Syria, injuring thousands and leaving many more without shelter in the bitter cold.

The four individuals were detained after officers found accounts that shared “provocative posts aiming to create fear and panic”, the police said.

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