Over 40,000 dead as 9 rescued from Turkihe earthquake debris

Nine survivors were pulled from the rubble more than a week after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkiye and neighboring Syria, as the focus of aid efforts turned towards helping survivors without shelter or enough food in freezing temperatures.

The death toll in the combined countries is over 41,000, with many left homeless and struggling to survive in the aftermath of the disaster.

President Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged the problems in the initial response but said the situation is now under control.

Two brothers aged 17 and 21 were among those rescued from an apartment block in Kahramanmaras province, along with a Syrian man and young woman who had been trapped for over 200 hours in the rubble of Antakya.

Rescuers believe there may still be more survivors to find. However, UN authorities have stated that the rescue phase is coming to a close, and aid efforts must now focus on providing shelter, food, and schooling.

The earthquake has left many people suffering without basic necessities, and they urgently need assistance.

“We applied to receive a tent, aid, or something, but up to now we didn’t receive anything,” said Hassan Saimoua, a Syrian refugee living in a playground in the southeastern city of Gaziantep.

Saimoua and others who had found refuge from the Syrian war but were made homeless by the earthquake had to use plastic sheets, blankets, and cardboard to create makeshift tents.

The World Health Organization’s Director for Europe, Hans Henri P. Kluge, said, “The needs are huge, increasing by the hour. Some 26 million people across both countries need humanitarian assistance.”

There are also concerns about health issues arising from the cold weather, poor hygiene, and sanitation, and the potential spread of infectious diseases, putting vulnerable people at risk.

The earthquake has caused significant damage to cities in both Turkiye and Syria, leaving many people in desperate need of help.

As the focus shifts towards providing shelter and aid, organizations like the UN and the WHO will play a crucial role in ensuring that those affected receive the support they require.

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