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Erdogan: The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria has risen to 11,000


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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced during a visit to the worst-affected region, after the devastating earthquake, that the death toll in his country had exceeded 8,574, bringing the total death toll with neighboring Syria to more than 11,000.

Amid calls by the Turkish government to send more aid to the stricken region, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited a “camp” in Kahramanmaraş, where people who were forced to leave their homes live.

Erdogan acknowledged shortcomings in the early response, but vowed not to “leave anyone on the streets”.

Search teams from more than two dozen countries joined tens of thousands of local aid workers, and pledges of aid poured in from around the world. But the scale of the devastation left by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its powerful aftershocks was so great that many are still waiting for help.

In the city of Malatya, bodies were lined up side by side on the ground under blankets, while rescuers waited for mortuary cars to pick them up, according to former journalist Ozel Bekal, who saw eight bodies pulled from the rubble of a building.

The journalist involved in the rescue effort said he believes at least some of the victims froze to death as temperatures dropped to -6 degrees Celsius.

“Today is not a good day because starting today, there is no more hope in Malatya. No one comes out alive from the rubble,” Bekal told The Associated Press by phone.

He added that a hotel building collapsed in the city, and more than 100 people were trapped inside.

There was a shortage of rescuers in the area, and the freezing temperatures hampered rescue efforts by volunteers and government teams, he said.

Road closures and destruction in the area impeded movement and access.