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The extent of the earthquake disaster is not yet foreseeable


The situation in Turkey and Syria continues to be dramatic. More than 7000 people died in the earthquake – many are still missing. Aid is coming slowly. The weather complicates the rescue work.

The number of victims in the earthquake areas on the Turkish-Syrian border is still increasing. The full extent of the catastrophe cannot yet be foreseen, and many people are still suspected to be under the rubble.

Overall, the number of dead is now more than 7,000. According to previous information, more than 30,000 people were injured in southern Turkey and northern Syria, as reported by the dpa news agency. Thousands of buildings collapsed.

In Turkey alone, there have been over 4,500 deaths so far, according to the Anadolu news agency, citing the Afad civil protection authority. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also declared a state of emergency in ten provinces affected by the quake. Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said around 8,000 people had been rescued from the rubble.

More than 7,000 dead after earthquake on Turkish-Syrian border

Gabriele Dunkel, ARD Istanbul, daily news at 8:00 p.m., February 7, 2023

UN: Particularly vulnerable people affected

According to authorities and rescue workers, at least 1,700 people have died in Syria. According to the state news agency Sana, 812 people were killed in the government-controlled areas of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, Idlib and Tartus.

According to the White Helmets rescue organization, at least 900 people have died in opposition-controlled areas in the north-west.

According to the UN, people in Syria who were already living without protection under disastrous conditions are the most affected by the consequences of the earthquake. Many internally displaced people who lived in ramshackle shelters before the disaster had to spend the night outside in snow and freezing temperatures, a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency UNHCR said. “With the many aftershocks and tremors, people were afraid to stay in their homes.”

Hundreds of families are still believed to be under the rubble. The overnight search was slow due to the storm and a lack of equipment, according to the White Helmets, who are active in rebel-held areas of Syria. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, doctors are also overwhelmed and cannot save the lives of all those injured. According to the UNHCR, some of the affected areas are remote and difficult to access. Among other things, there is not enough emergency shelter, blankets and warm clothing for the earthquake victims.

WHO: 23 million could be affected

According to government estimates, millions of people in Turkey have been affected by the earthquake disaster. “This earthquake directly affected 13.5 million of our citizens,” said City Minister Murat Kurum. Some roads and paths are not accessible, work is being done to make them passable. He emphasized that in past quakes, people were still being pulled out of the rubble after 100 hours. The state news agency Anadolu reported that two women were rescued in the city of Antakya after around 30 hours.

As reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of up to 23 million people in Turkey and Syria could be affected by the aftermath of the earthquake.

Turkey: Power outages and food shortages

There are problems with the supply of parts of the population. In the morning, an eyewitness reported to the dpa news agency that the power had gone out in Hatay in southern Turkey. The petrol stations ran out of petrol and there was no bread to buy. The electricity also failed in the neighboring province of Osmaniye, said a reporter from the broadcaster CNN Türk.

In the southeastern Turkish metropolis of Diyarbakir, many people spent the night outside, in schools or mosques – for fear of returning to their homes. There were several aftershocks. The rescue work is made more difficult by the wintry temperatures. The Afad tents are not heated and are not sufficient, according to the dpa.

“The situation here is extremely dramatic”, Katarina Willinger, ARD Istanbul currently Adiyaman

Tagesschau 8:00 p.m., 7.2.2023

Weather service: cold and snow expected

Temperatures will remain low in the coming days. The Turkish weather service has forecast snow and rain for the areas affected by the earthquake. Snow is expected in the southeastern provinces of Mardin and Diyarbakir. It is supposed to rain in the provinces of Malatya and Hatay. Winds could reach up to 50 kilometers per hour.

It is expected to be coldest in the province of Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the quake. The lowest temperature to be expected there for Tuesday is five degrees minus, the highest one degree.

International aid started

Both Turkey and Syria have received numerous pledges of aid. Aid pledges also came from Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, which had been attacked by Russia, and the USA. Meanwhile, 70 countries have offered their help in searching for and rescuing earthquake victims, said President Erdogan.

So far, more than 30 search and rescue teams have been mobilized through the EU Disaster Relief Centre. As a spokesman for the EU Commission announced, this corresponds to a total of more than 1,200 rescue workers and more than 70 dogs. Medical teams are also included. In addition to 19 EU countries such as Germany, Albania and Montenegro are also involved in the EU-coordinated aid efforts for Turkey. Eleven rescue teams were already on site at noon, it said.

The Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is preparing to deliver emergency generators, tents and blankets, announced Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser. In view of the extent of the destruction and the risk of aftershocks, the THW is expecting a difficult and possibly longer operation in the earthquake region of Turkey, said THW President Gerd Friedsam. After the experiences from previous foreign missions in other severe earthquakes worldwide, he assumes that “we will send umpteen helpers there,” said Friedsam.

Desperate situation in Syria after earthquake in border region

Ramin Sina, ARD Cairo, daily news 8:00 p.m., February 7th, 2023

Baerbock calls for border openings

One of the areas hardest hit by the earthquake is the rebel-held Idlib region of Syria. That should make emergency government aid there more difficult. After more than eleven years of civil war, government troops of Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad are again in control of around two-thirds of the country.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock called for all border crossings to be opened in order to enable rapid humanitarian aid in Syria as well. There is currently only one open border crossing, which was damaged in the earthquake, said the Greens politician. “That’s why opening the border crossings is so important.” It is “the absolute imperative now that humanitarian aid gets to where it is needed”.

No comparable earthquake in the region for 900 years

An earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 shook the Turkish-Syrian border region on Monday. At noon, another earthquake of magnitude 7.5 followed in the same region, as the Kandilli earthquake station reported. According to Afad, more than 240 aftershocks have so far followed in the Turkish-Syrian border region.

The geologist Charlotte Krawczyk said there hadn’t been an earthquake of this size in the affected area for around 900 years Geo Research Center Potsdam in the ARD. It is not possible to predict whether and when further major earthquakes will follow. Despite tensions with Turkey, Greece sent a rescue team with sniffer dogs to the earthquake area.

Simon Riesche, ARD Cairo, on the difficult conditions for helpers in Syria

tagesschau24 2:00 p.m., 7.2.2023