The death toll from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks rose to more than 5,000 on Tuesday as more bodies were pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings.
Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said the total number of deaths in Turkey had risen to 3,419, with another 20,534 people injured. That brought the number of people killed to 5,102, with another 1,602 people confirmed dead on the Syrian side of the border.
The earthquake struck early Monday morning, bringing down thousands of buildings. Rescuers were racing frantically to find more survivors but their efforts were being impeded by temperatures below freezing and some 200 aftershocks, which made the search through unstable structures perilous.
Meanwhile, an earthquake of 5.6 magnitude struck central Turkey on February 7, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.
The quake was at a depth of 2 km, the EMSC said.
Rescuers raced Tuesday to find survivors in the rubble of thousands of buildings brought down by Monday’s earthquake and several afetershocks.
Attempts to reach survivors were also impeded by temperatures below freezing and close to 200 aftershocks, which made the search through unstable structures perilous.
Nurgul Atay told The Associated Press she could hear her mother’s voice beneath the rubble of a collapsed building in the city of Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, but that her and others efforts to get into the ruins had been futile without any rescue crews and heavy equipment to help.
“If only we could lift the concrete slab we’d be able to reach her,” she said. “My mother is 70-years-old, she won’t be able to withstand this for long.”
Across Hatay province, just southwest of the earthquake’s epicenter, officials say as many as 1,500 buildings were destroyed and many people reported relatives being trapped under the rubble with no aid or rescue teams arriving.
In areas where teams worked, occasional cheers broke out through the night as survivors were brought out of the rubble.
The quake, which was centered in Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras, sent residents of Damascus and Beirut rushing into the street and was felt as far away as Cairo.