Türkiye-Syria earthquake update: Warnings of doubling the number of victims as thousands still trapped under the rubble


The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths warned that the death toll from the severe earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, which has so far exceeded 28,000, will double or more.

On Saturday, Griffiths visited the city of Kahramanmaras in Türkiye, the epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred on Monday and caused 28,191 deaths, including 24,617 in this country and 3,574 in neighboring Syria.

Speaking to Sky News, Griffiths said, “I think it’s difficult to accurately assess the toll, because we have to see under the rubble, but I am sure it will double or more”.

“We haven’t actually started counting the dead yet,” he added.

Dozens of rescue teams continue to search among the rubble, amidst a bitter cold.

The earthquake displaced up to 5.3 million people in Syria alone, as the United Nations warned, noting that at least 780 people are in urgent need of meals in the two countries.

The World Health Organization announced on Saturday that the number of people suffered by the earthquake amounted to about 26 million people and launched an appeal to raise 42.8 million dollars to fund urgent needs in the health field.

On Saturday, Griffiths said in a video posted on his Twitter, “Soon, the people in charge of search and relief operations will give way to humanitarian agencies, whose work will require taking care of the exceptional number of affected people during the coming months”.

In addition, the European Union envoy to Syria, Dan Stoinescu, said early Sunday that it isn’t entirely fair to accuse the bloc of not providing enough aid to the Syrians in the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck areas in Syria and Türkiye last week.

“It’s completely unfair to accuse us of not providing assistance when in fact we have been doing so continuously for more than ten years and even more during the earthquake crisis,” Stoinescu, head of the EU delegation, added in written statements posted on Reuters.

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