Over 5,000 dead, ten of thousands of injured after 7.8 degree earthquake in Turkey, Syria. Romania sends rescuers


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Latest news: Another 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey on Tuesday, after the Monday’s 7.8 magnitude one. Death toll increases to over 5,000 in both Turkey and Syria. The World Health Organization warned that the number of victims could exceed 20,000, writes The Guardian.


A major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 struck central Turkey and northwestern Syria on Monday, killing hundreds of people. Many buildings collapsed in the snow-covered region as rescuers began searching for survivors trapped under the debris. The earthquake, which occurred in the early hours of this winter morning, was also felt in Cyprus and Lebanon. The earthquake was followed by 78 aftershocks.

Over 5,000 people have died (around 4,800 confirmed at this moment) and over 10,000 others have been injured in Turkey and Syria. According to the latest official toll (which is very likely to increase), almost 20 hours after the first of the three earthquakes, with a magnitude of 7.8, more than 4,800 people were declared dead, of which 3,381 in Turkey, according to the agency of State for Disaster Management (Afad) and over 1,440 in Syria.

However, the death toll is expected to be higher. The death toll from the earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday morning could reach 10,000, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced, quoted by CNN.

The USGS said there was a 47 percent chance the death toll would reach 10,000. The USGS estimates come from analyzing data based on historical earthquakes in the region, the population exposed to the strongest earthquakes, and the vulnerability of structures in the most affected areas.“High casualties and extensive damage are likely, and the disaster is likely to be widespread. The population in this region lives in buildings that are extremely vulnerable to earthquakes, although there are also resilient structures,” the USGS said in the report.

At least 237 Syrians were also killed and 639 wounded in Aleppo, Hama, Lattakia and Tartous, according to the Syrian Ministry of Health.

A building in the city of Sanliurfa, east of Gaziantep, collapsed a few hours after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey overnight Sunday into Monday.

Update: Another devastating earthquake, of 7.5 magnitude has just hit central Turkey on Monday at noon. The earthquake occurred 67 km north-northeast of Kahramanmaras, Turkey, at a depth of 2 km. Other 100 of small quake replicas followed.
Rescue efforts, running against time and in wintry conditions, continued through the night in Turkey and northern Syria to pull survivors from the rubble of the violent earthquakes that devastated the region on Monday, leaving behind several thousand dead.
Rescuers struggled in conditions of cold, torrential rain and snow, sometimes with their bare hands, to save any life they could, such as the seven-year-old girl who was pulled from the rubble in Hatay (south), on the border Syrian woman, after more than 20 hours of terror, with her pajamas soaked in dust.
The bad weather that persists over Anatolia complicates the rescuers’ task and makes even more cruel the fate of the survivors, who are shivering from the cold in tents or around makeshift stoves. Several provinces in eastern Turkey are under severe weather warnings. It is colder than usual in the earthquake affected regions.

Romanian students in Turkey asked for help for repatriation

A group of Erasmus students, Romanian citizens, who were staying at a hotel in the town of Kahraman Maraş in Turkey, requested the support of the Romanian Embassy in Ankara, following the 7.8 degree earthquake, announced the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stating that the group of citizens Romanians, consisting of nine students and a coordinating professor, requested consular assistance and support for repatriation. They are all safe and sound.

As a result of the dialogue of the embassy representatives with the Romanian citizens and the local authorities, it was confirmed that the Romanian citizens are safe, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Support from Romania

President Klaus Iohannis sent condolences and a message of support for Turkey: “Our thoughts are with the victims and their families after the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. I convey Romania’s sincere condolences to the families of the victims and speedy recovery to the injured. Romania stands in solidarity with those affected by this tragedy”.

At the same time, the Government in Bucharest announced that the Prime Minister convened the National Committee for Emergency Situations, after the Department for Emergency Situations, through the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations, in its capacity as the national point of contact, received from the Response Coordination Center Emergency of the European Commission (ERCC), through CECIS, the request of the Turkish authorities for the granting of international assistance, considering the emergency situation generated by the earthquake of over 7 degrees Richter produced last night on their territory.

Following the activation of the European Civil Protection Mechanism, the Government of Romania decided to send a RO-USAR team, specialized personnel for intervention in such situations from the IGSU, to Turkey, the country heavily affected by last night’s earthquake.    The support offered by the Romanian state was accepted by the Turkish authorities, stating, at the same time, that the IGSU rescue teams, together with the SMURD Bucharest medical team (an integral part of INSARAG), together with the Romanian Air Force personnel from the MAPN, are already prepared for carrying out this support mission”, IGSU announced.

Three aircraft to take off from Bucharest to Adana

Romania is sending three aircraft to Turkey that will have 60 rescuers on board, four dogs trained for earthquake searches and seven tons of equipment.

On the return, one of the aircraft will bring to the country the ten Romanians – nine students and the coordinating teacher – who requested help for repatriation.

It is about two C-130 Hercules and C-27J Spartan transport aircraft, belonging to the Romanian Air Force. The aircraft are carrying out a mission on Monday to transport materials and the RO-USAR rescue team, being made up of specialized intervention personnel from the IGSU, informs the Ministry of National Defense. Specialists will intervene urgently to support the population affected by the earthquake in Turkey on Monday morning.

The military aircraft will take off from the Air Transport Base 90 in Otopeni to Adana. There are 60 rescue team members on board, trained for post-earthquake response missions. Among them are doctors from the Floreasca Hospital in Bucharest. Many of them participated in a similar mission in Albania.

The centuries-old Gaziantep Castle has collapsed following quake

Gaziantep Castle, a centuries-old monument in Turkey, was badly damaged after Monday morning’s earthquake and aftershocks, writes CNN. “Some of the bastions in the eastern, southern and southeastern parts of the historic Gaziantep Castle in the central Şahinbey district were destroyed by the earthquake and the debris was scattered on the road. The iron railings around the castle were scattered on the surrounding sidewalks. The retaining wall next to the castle also collapsed. In some bastions, large cracks were observed,” Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported.

According to the cited source, the dome and eastern wall of the historical Şirvani mosque, which is located near the castle and is said to have been built in the 17th century, partially collapsed According to archaeological evidence, the castle was first built as a watchtower during the Roman period, in the II-IV centuries AD, and the construction expanded over time.

Rescue teams come from all over the world 

The first teams of rescuers have already started coming to Turkey, including those from Romania. US President Joe Biden has promised his counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan “any help that is needed”.

According to the Turkish president, 45 countries have offered to help. Turkey has also sent an official request to NATO and allies for assistance in managing the consequences the devastating earthquakes of Monday.

In Syria, however, the call from the authorities in Damascus was heard mainly by its Russian ally, which promised rescue teams “within the next few hours”, while according to the army, more than 300 Russian soldiers are already at to the scene to assist in the rescue. The UN also responded, but insisted that aid would be provided to “all Syrians, across the country,” some of whom are not under government control. In these rebel-held areas bordering Turkey, in the north- western Syria, at least 700 people have died.

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