In Turkey and Syria, balance sheet exceeds 8,700 dead and time is running out to find survivors

Rescue operations are made complicated by weather conditions.


In an icy cold, the rescuers continue to carry out a race against the clock to try to rescue the survivors of the earthquake of a magnitude of 7.8, which occurred on Monday February 6 at dawn, and which has touched south-eastern Turkey and Syria.

The bad weather complicates the task of the aid, and the Turkish Minister of the Interior warned Tuesday that the next forty-eight hours would be “crucial” to find survivors while the assessment continues to grow, exceeding now the 8,700 dead.

International aid began to arrive in Turkey, where national mourning was decreed for seven days. The counting of the dead is established there, Wednesday February 8 in the morning, at 6,234. It is already the worst assessment that Turkey has known since the 1999 earthquake, when 17,000 people had perished, including A thousand in Istanbul.

in Syria, 2,470 dead were identified at this stage. The assessment should “climb considerably, because hundreds of people remain trapped under the rubble”, according to white helmets (civil protection volunteers) in the rebel areas.

Twenty-three million people are “potentially exposed, including around five million vulnerable people”, warned WHO, the World Health Organization.

International help

The first teams of foreign rescuers arrived on Tuesday. According to the Turkish president, who declared the state of emergency for three months in the ten provinces affected by the earthquake, forty-five countries have proposed their aid.

The European Union (EU) mobilized for Turkey 1,185 rescuers and 79 research dogs with 19 member states including France, Germany or Greece. For Syria, the EU is in contact with its humanitarian partners on site and finances aid operations.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, promised the Turkish Head of State, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “all the necessary help, whatever it is”. Two teams of rescuers were to arrive Wednesday morning in Turkey. China announced Tuesday the sending of aid of $ 5.9 million (5.50 million euros) as well as specialized rescuers in urban areas, medical teams and emergency equipment. Even Ukraine, despite the invasion of its territory by Russia, announced the sending to Turkey of 87 rescuers to Turkey.

The United Arab Emirates have promised $ 100 million in aid, and Saudi Arabia, which does not have links with the Damascus regime since 2012, announced the implementation of an air bridge for help the populations affected in the two countries.

In Syria, the appeal launched by the authorities of Damascus was however heard by its Russian ally. According to the army, more than 300 Russian soldiers are already on the scene to help help. On Tuesday, Washington said it worked with local NGOs in Syria, insisting that its “funds will of course go to the Syrian people, not to the [Damascus] regime”.

The earthquake has affected Bab al-Hawa’s passage point, the only one for almost all humanitarian aid to rebel areas in Syria transported from Turkey, according to the UN. The Syrian Red Crescent, which operates in government areas, called on the EU to lift sanctions against Damascus.

/Media reports cited above.