More bodies were discovered in the remains of fallen buildings on Tuesday, bringing the total number of fatalities from a 7.8-magnitude earthquake and numerous aftershocks to more than 5,000.
According to Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, there have already been 3,419 fatalities and 20,534 injuries across the country. In addition, 1,602 additional deaths on the Syrian side of the border were confirmed, bringing the total number of fatalities to 5,102.
The early Monday morning earthquake destroyed dozens of structures. Rescuers were desperately trying to discover additional individuals, but their efforts were being hampered by subfreezing temperatures and 200 aftershocks, which made it dangerous to search through fragile buildings.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) reported that a 5.6-magnitude earthquake happened in central Turkey on February 7. According to the EMSC, the earthquake was 2 kilometres deep.
Rescuers rushed on Tuesday to locate survivors among the wreckage of the thousands of structures that had been destroyed by Monday’s earthquake and its subsequent aftershock. Colder than freezing weather and nearly 200 aftershocks complicated efforts to locate survivors and made it dangerous to sift through shaky buildings.
Despite hearing her mother on the phone among the debris of a fallen building in Antakya, the provincial capital of Hatay, Nurgul Atay told The Associated Press that her and others’ attempts to enter the wreckage had been fruitless in the absence of rescue personnel and heavy machinery.
Authorities estimate that up to 1,500 buildings collapsed throughout Hatay province, which is located just southwest of the earthquake’s epicentre. Many people also reported that family members were trapped beneath the rubble but that no help or rescue teams had yet arrived.
As victims were pulled out of the remains throughout the night, cheering occasionally erupted in the locations where teams were working.
Residents of Damascus and Beirut rushed into the streets in response to the earthquake, which was felt as far away as Cairo and was centred in the region of Kahramanmaras in southeast Turkey.