Turkey/Syria – Turkish and Syrian authorities raise death toll from earthquakes to more than 8,700

Aerial image of the effects of the earthquakes that struck the Turkish-Syrian border in the city of Hatay, Turkey. – Tunahan Turhan/SOPA Images via Z / DPA

The authorities of Turkey and Syria have indicated that the death toll from the earthquakes registered this Monday near the border of both countries is 8,764 people, while the number of wounded exceeds 41,665 victims, in a balance still to be defined.

The Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Otkay, said early Wednesday that 6,234 people have died in his country, while 37,011 have been injured.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has set up a Crisis Management Center at the Ministry of Defense to «face this great disaster», in order to transport rescue personnel and equipment via an airlift.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has detailed that 2,600 rescue personnel have been moved from various parts of the country to the affected sites, along with 78 vehicles, other materials and 75 aircraft, Anatolia news agency has reported.

Meanwhile, the earthquake has left 1,250 dead and 2,054 injured in the areas of Syria controlled by the authorities, according to data from the Syrian Ministry of Health published on its profile on the social network Facebook. These data correspond to the provinces of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia, Tartus and Idlib areas in the hands of government forces.

«We are in a race against time and working with the maximum energies available and with the cooperation of all parties,» reads a statement from the Syrian Health portfolio, which notes that the country’s Executive have reviewed the emergency measures governing the situation.

To the Syrian governmental figures must be added more than 1,280 dead and 2,600 wounded in the areas controlled by the rebels in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo (northwest), according to the Syrian Civil Defense, known as ‘white helmets’, through its Twitter account, where it insisted that «the balance is expected to increase significantly, as hundreds of families remain trapped under the rubble more than 50 hours after the earthquake».

Likewise, the ‘white helmets’ have pointed out that more than 360 buildings have been completely destroyed, while more than a thousand are «severely destroyed».