Death toll from the devastating earthquake in Syria and Türkiye has risen to more than 23,000


The death toll as a result of the earthquake that devastated large areas of the border area between Türkiye and Syria has risen to more than 23,000 people, as of Friday evening, with the search for survivors continuing despite fading hopes.

Some 20,213 people have died in Türkiye alone, the Turkish Health Ministry reported on Friday evening, while more than 80,000 people injured.

In the southern city of Adiyaman, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for global relief efforts to rebuild the devastated areas.

He acknowledged, amid criticism from opposition figures, that there had been certain setbacks in the government’s response to the deadly earthquakes.

Rescue workers in Syria have also sharply criticized the lack of aid in certain areas, in a country where the death toll has reached 3,384.

The United Nations estimates that about 5.4 million people have become homeless.

The Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his wife, Asma, visited the city of Aleppo, in his first visit to the area hit by the devastating earthquake this week.

The Syrian presidency posted pictures of his visiting the injured in Aleppo University Hospital.

There is a decrease in the number of people being rescued, although some survivors are still being found, such as a family of six in southern Türkiye who were pulled from the rubble 102 hours after the earthquake, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.

Erdogan said that in terms of rescue efforts, a total of 141,000 Turkish and foreign rescue workers are working on the ground, including more than 7,000 from 61 countries.

A total of 97 countries have also sent aid to Türkiye, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

Meanwhile, more than 76,000 people have been evacuated from the earthquake zone.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden said on Twitter that the United States would provide $85 million in urgently needed aid.

“This includes food and shelter, supplies to help families endure the cold, and medicine to help save lives,” Biden wrote.

A British appeal to help victims in Türkiye and Syria has raised more than 30 million pounds ($36 million) in less than 24 hours, the British Press Association reported.

The Italian government said in a statement that Rome had sent equipment and supplies for a field hospital, medical supplies, vehicles, tents and baby cots for about 1,000 people.

The first earthquake occurred early Monday morning with a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale, followed at noon by another earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6.

According to Turkish authorities, a thousand aftershocks have occurred since then.

Despite the freezing temperatures, some survivors were still found on Friday, mostly after hours of searches.

Turkish public channel TRT broadcast video clips of rescuers pulling a 45-year-old man out of the rubble in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş 107 hours after the earthquake.

In Syria, some 3,000 White Helmets volunteers are searching for survivors.

At dawn on Monday, a 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck southern Türkiye and northern Syria, followed by another hours later with a magnitude of 7.6 and hundreds of violent aftershocks, which left huge losses of lives and property in both countries.

The Arab support diversified, officially and popularly, on Friday, through the performance of absentee prayers in the mosques of many Arab countries, and the supplication of preachers in Friday prayers to support Türkiye and Syria, in addition to the continuation of Arab aid, donations and calls for relief for the two countries.

Arab donations at the official and popular levels witnessed a remarkable flow to support Türkiye and Syria in facing the repercussions of the earthquake.

On Friday, the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, donated 50 million Qatari riyals ($14 million) for the earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria.

On Friday, the volume of donations to the Qatari “Support and Help” campaign amounted to 168 million Qatari riyals ($46 million) on its first day on Qatar TV, in favor of the earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria.

On Friday, Algeria announced the allocation of $30 million in financial aid to Türkiye and $15 million to Syria.

In implementation of the instructions of the Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune.

In Saudi Arabia, 679,830 people participated in a popular donation campaign through the governmental Sahem platform for relief from Syria and Türkiye, with a total of 239,108,668 riyals ($63,718 million), as of 21:44 GMT on Friday evening.

In Jordan, the Catholic churches announced, on Friday, that they will allocate donations for masses for the coming Sundays, to help those affected by the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.

In this context, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry announced, on Friday evening, the dispatch of a military field hospital to Kahramanmaraş, southern Türkiye, as well as the start of sending land convoys to Syria and Türkiye, to help face the effects of the earthquake that struck the two countries.

On Friday, three additional Saudi relief planes arrived in Türkiye, bringing the total to 5, as part of an air bridge launched by the Kingdom to contribute to the relief of those affected by the earthquake, in implementation of the directives of King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

On Thursday, two Saudi relief planes arrived in Türkiye carrying “specialized ambulance and rescue teams and 98 tons of relief materials, including food baskets, tents, shelter bags and blankets, in addition to medical materials,” according to what the agency previously reported.

In Kuwait, media outlets, including the country’s official news agency, reported that Saturday will witness the launch of an expanded campaign to collect donations for earthquake relief under the title Kuwait is by your side, under the directives of the political leadership, without further details.

In Abu Dhabi, Emirates Airlines announced its intention to operate a humanitarian air bridge to support relief efforts in Türkiye.

On Friday, the Emirates Search and Rescue Team continued its relief work in Türkiye to search for survivors under the rubble, traveling to three most difficult areas in Kahramanmaras since the earthquake occurred.

As of Thursday evening, the UAE announced the flight of 22 relief planes carrying 640 tons of aid, including 7 planes to Syria and 15 to Türkiye, carrying search and rescue teams and a fully equipped mobile field hospital.

The Sultanate of Oman, the Civil Defense and Ambulance Authority announced on Twitter, Friday, that “its national team continues search and rescue operations with other international teams, and provides medical care to those affected by the earthquake in Türkiye”.

In Iraq, the Iraqi president, Abdul Latif Jamal Rashid, on Friday, made a phone call to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during which he offered condolences, stressing Baghdad’s solidarity with Ankara, according to the Iraqi presidency.

Since the earthquake occurred until Thursday, 14 Arab countries officially announced the establishment of air bridges and the provision of urgent relief and medical aid to support Türkiye, which are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the Emirates, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Jordan, Bahrain, Libya, Tunisia, Palestinian territories, Iraq and Mauritania.

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