Hopes for more Turkey-Syria quake survivors fade as toll climbs

The death toll from the earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria this week reached 16,000 today as hope faded and many people found life 72 hours after the disaster and frustration caused by the slow delivery of aid.

A Turkish government official said the tragedy had caused “tremendous difficulties” for holding elections on May 14 in which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces the toughest challenge of his two decades in power. On the ground, many people in Turkey and Syria spent three nights sleeping outside or in cars in the freezing cold, after the earthquake destroyed their homes or shook them badly. so that they were afraid to return.

The earthquake, which struck overnight and was followed by an aftershock, will be Turkey’s deadliest since 1999, when a powerful earthquake killed more than 17,000 people. In Turkey, footage emerged late yesterday showing several other rescuers, including Abdulalim Muaini, who was pulled from his collapsed home in Hatay, Turkey, where he had been since Monday next to his dead wife. die.

Rescuers pulled an injured 60-year-old woman named Meral Nakir from the ruins of a house in the city of Malatya, 77 hours after the first earthquake, state broadcaster TRT reported live today. The death toll in Turkey reached 12,873 this morning.

In Syria, which has been ravaged by nearly 12 years of civil war, more than 3,000 people have died, as government and aid workers and rebels hold the northwest. “The number of dead and injured is expected to increase and many families are still under collapsed buildings,” Raed Saleh, head of aid operations in the northwest, told Reuters in the morning. a.

“No help has arrived and we are waiting today to see if any help arrives,” he said. UN aid to northwest Syria, a vital lifeline for four million people, will start flowing again today after the earthquake blocked the route, officials said.

In Turkey, many complain about the lack of equipment, skills and support to rescue the trapped – sometimes even hearing cries for help. Further delaying the relief effort, the roads leading to the Turkish city of Antakya were jammed with traffic as residents finally got enough fuel to leave the disaster area and aid trucks headed for the area. the body.

After criticizing the response, Erdogan said during a visit to the disaster area yesterday that work is now working as normal and promised that no one will be left homeless. An official told Reuters that it is now time to discuss the election because 15% of the Turkish population in the region is affected.

“Now there are great difficulties in organizing the elections on May 14,” as planned, he said. In some parts of southern Turkey, people are looking for temporary shelter and food in the hot weather, and feel the suffering in the rubble where family and friends can still be buried.

“Where is the state? Where did they spend two days? We ask them. Let’s do it, we can get them out,” Sabiha Alinak said next to the dilapidated house covered in snow in the town of Malatya where her young parents lived.

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