The death toll from the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has increased to 17,591 people. Photo/Fecri Barlik/Anadolu Agency
GAZIANTEP – President Turki Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday (9/2/2023) that 14,014 people had died in his country and more than 67,000 others were injured in Monday’s massive earthquake.
From Syria 3,577 people were reported killed and more than 6,300 others injured, bringing the total death toll in the two countries to 17,591.
Rescue teams have pulled more survivors from under the rubble of buildings that collapsed on Thursday. But hope is fading of finding more people alive, more than three days after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake and series of aftershocks hit both countries.
Also read: Turkey-Syria Earthquake Kills 16,035 People, Erdogan Becomes a Target of Anger
The US Embassy in Ankara confirmed that at least three Americans were among those killed in Turkey.
One expert said the window of survival for those trapped under rubble or unable to obtain basic necessities had closed rapidly. At the same time, they said it was too early to give up hope.
“The first 72 hours are considered critical,” said Steven Godby, a natural hazard expert at Nottingham Trent University in England.
“The average survival ratio in 24 hours is 74%, after 72 hours it becomes 22% and on the fifth day it becomes 6%,” he explained.
Risklayer, which describes itself as a “transparent and independent collaborative disaster risk firm in Germany and Australia”, tweeted on Wednesday that it projected the death toll could be as high as 45,000.
Meanwhile, survivors in Gaziantep, Turkey, described the horror of Monday’s devastating earthquake.
“We lost our homes, we lost our neighbors. It’s very difficult,” Nihat, a survivor in Gaziantep, told Al Jazeera.
“We have blankets, drinks, but people don’t sleep here because everyone has lost friends, neighbors and more people have died,” he said.
“When the earthquake happened, I thought an atomic bomb was dropped on the city,” he added.
The relief center in Gaziantep was full of people, and children and families were sleeping wherever they could. For now, the survivors are receiving aid of water, bread and boots.
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