Hope Fading As Deaths In Turkey, Syria Quake Pass 11,000

Posted on 02/08/23 | News Source: Associated Press

With the hope of finding survivors fading, stretched rescue teams in Turkey and Syria searched Wednesday for signs of life in the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by a catastrophic earthquake. The confirmed death toll from the world’s deadliest quake in more than a decade passed 11,000.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan toured a “tent city” in hard-hit Kahramanmaras where people forced from their homes were living. Amid calls for his government to send more help to the disaster zone, Erdogan conceded initial shortfalls in the response to Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake but vowed no one would “be left in the streets.”

Search teams from more than two dozen countries have joined tens of thousands of local emergency personnel on the ground in Syria and Turkey. But the scale of destruction from the earthquake and its powerful aftershocks was so immense and spread over such a wide area, including places isolated by Syria’s ongoing civil war, that many people were still awaiting help.

Experts said the survival window for those trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings or otherwise unable to access water, food, protection from the elements or medical attention was closing rapidly. At the same time, they said it was too soon to abandon hope for more rescues.

“The first 72 hours are considered to be critical as the condition of people trapped and injured can deteriorate quickly and become fatal if they are not rescued and given medical attention in time,” Steven Godby, a natural hazards expert at Nottingham Trent University in England.

Rescuers at times used excavators in their searches and picked gingerly through debris at other points to locate survivors or the dead. With thousands of buildings toppled, it was not clear how many people might still be caught in the rubble.