Earthquake Update: More Than 20,000 Dead Across Turkey, Syria; Rescue Efforts Intensify

By | February 9, 2023

Thousands of foreign aid workers have arrived in Turkey and the first UN aid convoy has entered Syria after this week’s twin earthquakes. The World Bank announced a $1.78 billion relief package as well.

The death toll surpassed 20,000 across Turkey and neighboring Syria, with thousands still missing.

Turkey’s parliament passed a three-month state of emergency in the affected areas, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the quake-hit provinces of Gaziantep, Osmaniye and Kilis.

Key Developments

(All times Istanbul, GMT +3) (Editor’s note: This article was updated by Bloomberg on Feb 10, 2023, at 12:20 AM)

The US will provide $85 million in urgent humanitarian assistance to Turkey and Syria, the US Agency for International Development said in a statement.

USAID is delivering emergency food and shelter for refugees and newly displaced people, winter supplies, critical health-care services, safe drinking water and sanitation assistance, according to the statement.

World Bank Aid (10:44 p.m.)

The World Bank will provide Turkey $1.78 billion in assistance for relief and recovery work, with immediate assistance of $780 million through two existing projects in the country to rebuild basic municipal-level infrastructure. It’s also preparing an extra $1 billion in operations to support people affected.

The lender said it has started rapid damage assessment to identify priority areas for recovery and reconstruction support.

Death Toll Tops 20,100 (6:30 p.m.)

Turkey’s death toll rose to 16,546, President Erdogan said in Osmaniye, bringing the total including Syria to 20,102.

The number injured in Turkey is 66,132, Erdogan said.

Netherlands Sends Ambulance Aircraft (5:10 p.m.)

The Netherlands deployed a C-130 Hercules transport aircraft with medical facilities to help earthquake victims in Turkey, according to Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren.

The C-130 is being sent following a request from the Turkish government, Ollongren said in a letter to the parliament.

Turkey Approves State of Emergency (4:57 p.m.)

Turkey’s parliament voted to implement a state of emergency in the quake-hit areas.

State-of-emergency powers will enable the government to stop “malicious groups” including looting and theft that’s taken place in some areas, President Erdogan said earlier Thursday.

First UN Aid Shipment Enters Syria (2:00 p.m.)

The first convoy of UN humanitarian aid crossed into Syria from Turkey’s Cilvegozu border crossing in Hatay Province, according to the Syrian American Medical Society, which operates on both sides of the border.

The six-truck convoy, carrying shelter-related materials and items like blankets and hygiene products, was delayed by damage to roads, according to Dima Marrawi, senior communications and advocacy officer at SAMS.

Marrawi, who spoke from the outskirts of Turkey’s Gaziantep, said the shipment hardly responds to the the scale of devastation in northwest Syria and people’s most urgent needs. SAMS-run hospitals in the area have little left to treat the overwhelming number of spine injuries and bone fractures coming in, she said.

Insurable Losses to Exceed $4 Billion (12:28 p.m.)

Fitch Ratings said insurable economic losses following the quakes could exceed $4 billion, though it added it was hard to estimate while the situation was still evolving.

The rating firm estimated insured losses at around $1 billion due to low insurance coverage in the affected regions.

Presidency Calls Out Those Who ‘Sow Division’ (10:40 a.m.)

“This is no time for politics, and we strongly condemn some statements made by some political figures that seek to sow divisions,” Erdogan’s Communications Director Fahrettin Altun says on Twitter.

Opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has said Erdogan is responsible for failures that amplified the damage.

This is no time for politics, and we strongly condemn some statements made by some political figures that seek to sow divisions. We are going through a difficult time as a nation. We call on everyone to avoid making irresponsible statements and to be part of the solution.
— Fahrettin Altun (@fahrettinaltun) Feb. 9, 2023

–With assistance from Sam Dagher, Beril Akman, Patrick Sykes, Ugur Yilmaz and Cagan Koc.

Topics Catastrophe Natural Disasters Earthquake

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