PanamaTimes

Tuesday, Feb 20, 2024

Earthquake toll climbs above 33,000 as desperate Syrians slam West

Earthquake toll climbs above 33,000 as desperate Syrians slam West

‘We have failed the people in north-west Syria,’ UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said

Rescuers have pulled more survivors from the rubble in Turkey as the death toll from the earthquake nearly a week ago rose above 33,000 on Sunday.

The toll from the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 quakes that struck nine hours apart has risen to 29,605 in Turkey and more than 3,500 in Syria, where tolls have not been updated for two days.

Turkey said about 80,000 people were in hospital, and more than one million in temporary shelters.

Thousands of rescuers, paramedics and sniffer dogs have been working relentlessly to find survivors in southern Turkey, while parts of opposition-held Syria remain quiet.

Among the rubble in Syria, a heartbreaking message scribbled on a slab of concrete was reportedly left by those who did not survive: “We are dead. Thank you for letting us down”.

The northwest region has received little aid compared to government-held areas in Syria.

“We have so far failed the people in north-west Syria,” United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths tweeted from the Turkey-Syria border, where only a single crossing is open for UN aid supplies.

“They rightly feel abandoned,” Mr Griffiths said, adding that he was focused on addressing that swiftly.

He will travel to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Monday to survey the damage and launch a United Nations appeal for Syria, which he hopes will cover both government and non-government zones of control.



More than six days after the first quake struck, emergency workers still found a handful of people clinging to life in the wreckage of homes that had become tombs for many thousands.

In the city of Antakya in southern Turkey, a team of Chinese rescuers and Turkish firefighters saved 54-year-old Syrian Malik Milandi after he survived 156 hours in the rubble.

A father and daughter, a toddler and a 10-year-old girl were among other survivors pulled from the ruins of collapsed buildings on Sunday, but such scenes are becoming rare.

At a funeral near Reyhanli, veiled women wailed and beat their chests as bodies were unloaded from lorries - some in closed wood coffins, others in uncovered coffins, and still others just wrapped in blankets.

Aerial view of members of El Salvador's Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) in Kahramanmara

Building quality in a country that lies on several seismic fault lines has come into sharp focus in the aftermath of the quake.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said 131 suspects had so far been identified as responsible for the collapse of some of the thousands of buildings flattened in the 10 affected provinces.

"We will follow this up meticulously until the necessary judicial process is concluded, especially for buildings that suffered heavy damage and buildings that caused deaths and injuries," he said.

The earthquake hit as President Erdogan faces presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June.

His government has been criticised for a slow response, with critics questioning why the army was not brought in sooner.

Before the disaster, President Erdogan’s popularity had been falling due to soaring inflation and a slumping Turkish currency.

Erdogan has acknowledged problems, such as the challenge of delivering aid despite damaged transport links, but said the situation had been brought under control.


‘Put politics aside’ UN envoy in Syria says


In Syria aid from government-held regions into territory controlled by opposition groups has been held up, a UN spokesperson said.

A source from Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) told Reuters the group would not allow any shipments from government-held areas and that aid would be coming in from Turkey to the north.

The UN is hoping to ramp up cross-border operations by opening an additional two border points between Turkey and opposition-held Syria for aid deliveries, spokesperson Jens Laerke said.

Displaced Syrians take refuge at the Sultan Ibrahim Mosque


Several Arab countries have provided support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assadin the quake’s aftermath.

Western countries, which sought to isolate Assad after his crackdown on protests in 2011 and the outbreak of civil war, are major contributors to UN relief efforts across Syria but have provided little direct aid to Damascus during the civil.

The first shipment of European earthquake aid to government-held parts of Syria also arrived in Damascus on Sunday.

UN Syria envoy Geir Pedersen said in Damascus the United Nations was mobilising funding to support Syria.

"We’re trying to tell everyone: Put politics aside, this is a time to unite behind a common effort to support the Syrian people," he said.

Newsletter

Related Articles

PanamaTimes
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
The President of Argentina Javier Mile does not fly private, he flies commercial, with the citizens he represents. And they LOVE him for it.
Bitcoin Reaches $50,000 for First Time in Over Two Years
Belo Horizonte: Brazil's Rising Carnival Hotspot for 2024
In El Salvador, the 'Trump of Latin America' stuns the world with a speech slamming woke policing after winning a landslide election
Tucker’s interview with Putin is over 50M views on X within the first 5 hours.
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
President Nayib Bukele has proudly announced El Salvador's remarkable achievement of becoming the safest nation in the Western Hemisphere.
Former Chilean President Sebastian Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
This farmer seems to understand science a bit more than the event organizer, Klaus Schwab.
Facebook turns 20: From Mark Zuckerberg's dormitory to a $1trn company
The Coolest Dictator in the World" on the Path to Victory in El Salvador
Macron, France and fake news
Indian-Origin Man 'King' Arrested For Smuggling $16 Million Drugs Into US
Can someone teach Americans that not every person with slanted eyes is Chinese?
Europe's Farmers Feeding the People, Protesting Against Politicians Who Do Nothing for Their Country and Serve Only Themselves at Taxpayers' Expense
Paris Restaurant That Inspired 'Ratatouille' Loses $1.6 Million Worth Of Wine
Brazilian Police Investigate Bolsonaro's Son for Alleged Illegal Spying
Police in Brazil Raid Residence of Bolsonaro Associate Over Allegations of Illegal Spying
Border Dispute Escalates as Texas Governor Vows Increased Razor Wire
OpenAI Enhances ChatGPT-4 Model, Potentially Addressing AI "Laziness" Issue
The NSA finally acknowledges spying on Americans by acquiring sensitive data
Report Reveals Toxic Telegram Group Generating X-Rated AI-Generated Fake Images of Taylor Swift
US Border Patrol States 'No Plans' to Remove Razor Wire Installed in Texas
Bitcoin Experiences Approximately 20% Decline in Value
Klaus Schwab recently appointed himself as the Earth's "trustee of the future."
DeSantis Drops Out, Endorses Trump.
Nikki Haley said former President Trump is "just not at the same level" of mental fitness as he was while president in 2016.
Residents of a southern Mexican town set the government palace on fire in response to the police killing of a young man
Samsung Launches AI-Driven Galaxy S24, Ushering in New Smartphone Era
Judge Questions SEC's Regulatory Overreach in Coinbase Lawsuit
The Ecuador prosecutor who was investigating the television studio attack, has been assassinated.
Is artificial intelligence the solution to cyber security threats?
Vivek Ramaswamy suspends his US election campaign and endorses Trump.
Viral Satire: A Staged Satirical Clip Mistaken as Real Footage from the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos
The AI Revolution in the Workforce: CEOs at Davos Predict Major Job Cuts in 2024
Ecuador Reports 178 Hostages in Prison Gang Standoff
The Startling Cuban Espionage Case That Has Rattled the US Government
Two Armed Men in Ecuador, Dressed as Batman and The Joker Storm the Streets.
Armed Gang Raids Ecuadorian TV Station Following State of Emergency Declaration
Anti-Democratic Canada: Journalist Arrested for Questioning Canadian Finance Minister on Support of Terrorist Group
Ecuador's 'Most-Wanted' Criminal Vanishes from Prison
Mexican Cartel Supplied Wi-Fi to Locals Under Threat of Fatal Consequences for Non-Compliance
Border Surge Leads to Over 11,000 Migrants Waiting in Northern Mexico
Outsider Candidates Triumph in Latin American Elections
As Argentina Goes to the Polls, Will the Proposal to Replace the Peso with the Dollar Secure Votes?
Fatal Shark Attack Claims Life of Boston Woman Paddleboarding Near Bahamas Resort, According to Police
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales Denied Eligibility for 2025 Re-Election
Venezuela's Maduro Condemns 'Provocation' as UK Sends Warship to Guyana Venezuela's President Maduro has condemned the UK's deployment of the warship HMS Trent to Guyana as a hostile act amid ongoing border tensions
Colombian Hometown Unveils Impressive Nearly 21ft Bronze Statue of Shakira
×