Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll to top 50,000, UN warns

0 428

The United Nations emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths has warned that death toll from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria will “double or more” from its current level, which is now close to thirty thousand.

READ ALSO: Earthquakes in Turkey, Syria: Death Toll Passes 23,000

Griffiths arrived on Saturday in Turkey’s southern city of Kahramanmaras, the epicentre of the first 7.8-magnitude tremor that upturned millions of lives on Monday.

With every passing moment, hopes are fading for those trapped under wreckage in Turkey, Griffiths said, adding that rescue efforts were now in their final stages in Syria.

They say 72 hours is the golden period (for rescues),” Griffiths said.

But just now they have pulled out someone alive, an hour or two ago. It must be incredibly difficult to decide when to stop this rescue phase and move into the next phase, which is also going to have its problems,” he added.

According to officials and medics, so far 24,617 people were killed in Turkey and 3,574 in Syria, summing up to a confirmed total death toll of 28,191.

Tens of thousands of rescue workers are excavating through flattened neighborhoods and debris in freezing temperatures that have deepened the misery of millions now in desperate need of aid.

There have been more than 32,000 disaster management personnel from Turkish organizations deployed at the affected areas and are working on search-and-rescue efforts, Turkey’s disaster agency said.

Apart from the national rescuers, there are also 8,294 international rescuers present.

Soon, the search and rescue people will make way for the humanitarian agencies, whose job is to look after the extraordinary numbers of those affected for the next months,” Griffiths said in a video posted to Twitter.

Around 26 million people have been affected by the earthquake, the World Health Organization (WHO) said as it launched a flash appeal on Saturday for $42.8 million to cope with immediate and overwhelming health needs.