Residents rescue an injured girl from the rubble in the town of Jandaris, Syria.
(Photo credit: Rami al Sayed/AFP)
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on 6 February that the death toll from the major, 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated Turkiye and Syria overnight is expected to jump significantly.
“I think we can expect the death toll to increase significantly … There’s been a lot of building collapses and it will increase more significantly around the epicenter of the earthquake,” WHO regional emergency director Rick Brennan told media.
According to Brennan, the WHO is stepping up its staff presence in Gaziantep, south of Turkiye, and is “exploring its options to send emergency medical teams to the area.” He added that aftershocks had hindered rescue efforts so far. The massive quake was followed up by a 7.7 magnitude follow-up temblor and was felt in both countries.
So far, the death toll in Syria alone has risen to at least 700 people, with around 1,315 injuries, according to the Syrian Health Ministry. In Turkiye, around 1,498 people have been killed so far, with an injury toll of over 8,000, the country’s disaster management agency reported.
#BREAKING Death toll from powerful earthquakes in southern Türkiye rises to 1,498, says disaster agency, adding 8,533 people injured pic.twitter.com/AnVpQzIA8n
— ANADOLU AGENCY (@anadoluagency) February 6, 2023
According to Sputnik, the sister of the Syrian Prime Minister, Hussein Arnous, and nine of her children and grandchildren were killed in the collapse of a building in Hama city.
Currently, the combined death toll of both countries stands at a minimum of 2,300 people. The Russian news outlet added that so far, dozens of buildings in Aleppo have been completely destroyed. The quake also ravaged infrastructure across Idlib, Latakia, and Hama. In Turkiye, drone footage has shown considerable destruction of infrastructure as well. In the southern city of Gaziantep, an ancient 2,000-year-old castle used by the Romans and Byzantines has been destroyed.
Another building collapses in #Aleppo city in Saif Al-Dawleh neighborhood
Syria is wounded today 🇸🇾💔
Via: https://t.co/8HHWh9QOiR pic.twitter.com/KmZ57FaJ7b
— vanessa beeley (@VanessaBeeley) February 6, 2023
Gaziantep Castle, which was built more than 2,200 years ago, collapsed during the earthquake pic.twitter.com/i4GjMKMBwU
— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) February 6, 2023
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone conversation with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the aftermath of the disaster, offering him ‘sincere condolences’ for the victims, as well as humanitarian aid. According to a statement from the Kremlin, rescuers from the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations have been deployed to Syria.
President of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, also expressed condolences to Assad and offered his country’s assistance in alleviating the disaster’s aftereffects. Israel has also claimed to have responded to a request for aid from Syria, which was immediately denied by Syrian media. China, Algeria, and Iran have also offered assistance to Syria.
footage of Iranian IRGC forces helping victims of the earthquake in Aleppo. pic.twitter.com/EHEqcMWkrC
— 'Sprinter' (@SprinterBV0000) February 6, 2023
The EU has deployed rescue teams to Turkiye and has expressed a readiness to aid Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has referred to the earthquake as the ‘biggest disaster’ since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake.
Both countries’ death and injury toll is expected to continue rising, and countless people are still trapped under rubble. Seismic experts have also predicted that several incoming shockwaves will occur in the coming days and weeks.
According to the Syrian Ministry of Health, the number of fatalities in the country from the earthquake in Turkey rose to 237, and the number of injured rose to 639, with most of the victims from Latakia, Aleppo, Hama and Tartus.
(Amir Tsarfati Telegram) pic.twitter.com/Y6x2aYfymv
— Jesus (@jesus97419975) February 6, 2023