On Monday, UN emergency response coordinator Martin Griffiths said the “rescue phase” of “extracting people alive from the rubble and finding those who died under the rubble is coming to an end.” end”.
Residents and aid workers in several Turkish cities have also complained of deteriorating security in disaster-ravaged areas as authorities crack down on social media accounts they say contain “provocative” messages inciting to fear and panic. Police said they arrested 56 Turkish social media posters on Monday, the Guardian reported.
As of Tuesday morning, the death toll from earthquakes in Turkey and Syria exceeded 37,000. Officials and doctors said 31,643 people died in Turkey and 5,714 people in Syria. Hundreds of thousands of people in both countries are injured or left homeless, many living in tents or in their cars. There are increasing reports of looting and instability in some of the hardest hit areas, adding to the sense of hopelessness among survivors.
In Syria, where millions of people are estimated to have been left homeless by an earthquake and a protracted civil war, the humanitarian situation is nearing disaster. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed to open two more border checkpoints with Turkey, Bab al-Salam and Al-Rai, to allow humanitarian aid to reach northwest Syria within three months. . Martin Griffiths said the focus is on delivering food to Syrian areas and placing people in shelters.
To further complicate the situation, Hayat al-Tahjar al-Sham, a radical group (banned in the Russian Federation), refused to accept aid sent via Damascus, despite warnings from UN experts that survivors who find themselves outdoors in wintry conditions face a secondary disaster. The United Nations has acknowledged “problems” in its early relief efforts in Syria, where aid arrived only days after the disaster. Aid groups say the delay has seriously hampered efforts to get people out of the rubble alive. Even now, Syrians expect the kinds of heavy equipment and specialized tools available on the Turkish side of the border, according to The Washington Post.
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