Death toll rising heavily in Syria and Turkey following 7.8 earthquake

Death toll rising heavily in Syria and Turkey following 7.8 earthquake
Credit: Belga

The death toll is rising at an astounding rate following a massive 7.8 earthquake in Turkey and Syria in the night between Sunday and Monday.

The latest updates on the situation can be found here.

According to new figures, more than 300 people are thought to have died in Syria and more than 900 deaths have already been counted in Turkey as a result of the earthquake, which is one of the strongest in the region in more than 100 years.

The aid agency SAMS, which operates mainly in northwestern Syria, reported that the latest death toll of the earthquake in that region stood at 111, while more than 600 people are wounded. "The total number of casualties remains inconclusive and is likely to rise with 100s still under the rubble."

At least 237 people were already killed in regime-controlled areas, according to official figures. Hundreds were also injured across the country.

In Turkey, the preliminary tally recorded 912 deaths, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday. At least 5,385 were also injured, and 2,818 buildings have collapsed, suggesting that the death toll will rise further.

According to the US earthquake observatory USGS, the earthquake occurred at 04:17 local time (02:17 Belgian time), at a depth of about 18 kilometres. The epicentre was in Turkey's Pazarcik district in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaras.

Belgium and Italy offer help

Belgium is ready to offer aid to Turkey, Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said on Monday, without yet detailing the nature of the possible assistance. "Belgium is closely monitoring the situation. We are in solidarity with the population in Turkey and are ready to offer our help."

Lahbib said she was "devastated" by the loss of life and offered her condolences to the bereaved families while wishing the injured a speedy recovery. "While the death toll is expected to rise, our thoughts are also with the people of northern Syria and other affected areas in neighbouring states, who are home to many refugees and displaced people," she added.

Additionally, about 200 Belgians are registered in the Turkish border region that was hit, according to the FPS Foreign Affairs. Eight people have indicated that they are currently travelling in the region, but there is no information about possible Belgian victims.

Belgium's Foreign Affairs Department is in permanent contact with the local authorities through its posts in Turkey and Syria and the Belgian embassy in Ankara is trying to contact all Belgians in the region on Monday morning to ascertain their condition. All non-registered Belgians who are in the region are also asked to report themselves.

Related News

Meanwhile, the European Union has mobilised ten search and rescue teams for Turkey to support the first responders on the ground following its request to activate the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. The EU's Copernicus satellite system has also been activated to provide emergency mapping services.

Italy, a country that is also often affected by earthquakes, offered Turkey the help of its Civil Protection Department on Monday after the violent earthquake.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni “informed by the Department of Civil Protection, is constantly monitoring the situation after the destructive earthquake that hit Turkey, bordering Syria,” a statement from her office read.

Italy issued a tsunami warning overnight, calling on its population to stay away from coastal areas. The warning was lifted shortly after 06:00 GMT.

Latest News

Copyright © 2021 The Brussels Times. All Rights Reserved.