Rescuers warn time running out as quake toll passes 9,000

Turkey and Syria earthquake’s death toll keeps rising – it’s now above 9,000

The number of people killed in Turkey has risen to 6,957, according to the country’s disaster agency.

It is difficult to verify the number in Syria, but its state media and a rescue group say about 2,500 people have died, a BBC report said.


The last time I saw a flattened building it was in Christchurch in 2011. Now on the other side of the world, in Adana, Turkey, I’m faced with it again.

This time the magnitude and scale of the devastation is on a level that is hard to comprehend. The number of survivors behind pulled out is slowing, and the number of bodies is rising. Still many relatives wait huddled by the rubble for any news.

Like many after the quake on the 22nd February over a decade ago, I couldn’t go back to my home. Left with only the clothes on my back, I walked through silt and rubble to a nearby University where I was housed.

But it was summer then, and now here in Turkey and Syria it is the middle of winter. Driving through fields of snow it is clear the dire conditions the rescuers face to find the survivors. And these same freezing temperatures are where many who survived the first two massive earthquakes will need to find another way to survive.

A collapsed building in Adana, Turkey.
A collapsed building in Adana, Turkey. (Source: 1News)

Unlike Christchurch there are not enough universities, gymnasiums, churches, to house them all. There are not enough buildings standing. Instead, people are camping in the middle of the street. Rental car agencies we’ve spoken to have handed out cars to homeless people, in an attempt to give them shelter. But it isn’t a long term solution.

The next step is daunting. There is another layer here. In Syria, rescue and aid efforts are hampered by years of civil war. There are parts where help has not arrived. And across the border in Turkey are many Syrians who have escaped their homes, only to now have their temporary homes destroyed.

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