More than a week after the earthquake disaster in the Turkish-Syrian border region, the combined death toll has risen to more than 40,000, the Turkish state news agency Anadolu reported on Tuesday.
In Turkey alone, the number was 35,418, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, according to Anadolu. The latest death toll from Syria was 5,900.
Just over a week ago, in the early hours of Monday morning, the first quake with a magnitude of 7.7 hit the region, followed hours later by a second severe quake with a magnitude of 7.6.
The Turkish disaster control authority AFAD has so far registered more than 2,400 aftershocks.
Thousands more victims are feared. According to United Nations estimates, the number could rise to 50,000 or more. It is becoming increasingly unlikely that aid workers will find any survivors.
Nevertheless, Turkish media reported several rescues on Tuesday morning. According to Anadolu, a 26-year-old woman in Hatay province was rescued alive after 201 hours under the rubble. The information could not be independently verified.
Meanwhile, WHO Regional Director Hans Kluge described the quake as the worst natural disaster in the region in a century.
‘As big as atomic bombs’
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that last week’s powerful earthquakes were “as big as atomic bombs” and have killed 35,418 in the country’s southern region.
Erdogan also said that hundreds of thousands of buildings were uninhabitable across southern Turkey, adding “any country would face issues we did during such a disaster”.