More than 80 hours after the deadly earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, the death toll has risen to at least 16,000 in both countries. On Thursday morning, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (AFAD) said at least 12,873 people have died in the country. The White Helmets wrote on Twitter that 1,900 people have died in the rebel-controlled Northwest of the country. While about 1,262 people have died in government-controlled areas of Syria. In total, the death toll stands at 16,035 at the time of this report.
Although it has been three days since the quake happened, there are still hopes that some victims might be alive under the debris. Finding just one survivor underneath the rubble is simply enough to give the rescuers strength to continue working.
Hope to find survivors is ‘always fresh’
In the Islahuye district of Turkey, two sisters were found alive after more than 60 hours under the rubble. The governor’s office said such milestones refresh their hope that there is the possibility that more and more are alive.
“In the Islahiye district, our 25-year-old citizen Fatma Demir and her sister Merve were pulled out alive after 62 hours with the work of our teams,” the governor’s office wrote. Our hope is always fresh.”
Although Turkey is the most hit by the quake, the situation in Syria seems worse as the “White Helmet” does not have the machinery needed to penetrate the rubble.
“The situation is tragic in every sense of the word. Unfortunately, hundreds of families are still under the rubble. As the 3rd day of the earthquake enters, there is a great shortage of search & rescue equipment,” the group wrote.
But they did not stop working, as they use hands and whatever they could lay their hands on to dig into the heavy concretes and cut the rods. Amid the complexity of the task, the group said “miracles are repeated and voices embrace the sky again” whenever a victim is rescued alive. Unfortunately, the rescued victims are fewer than those still under the rubble.
The smell of death is everywhere
As the “White Helmet” continues the struggle to rescue victims in Northwest Syria, they have called for international assistance, but very few nations have come to their rescue. Most of the international aid ends in Turkey and the government-controlled regions of Syria.
“Death hangs over the neighbourhoods of Salqin,” the group wrote while requesting international assistance. “The smell of death is everywhere.” They said the number of victims underneath the rubble surpasses those that have been rescued. Even some of the rescue workers shave lost, several relatives.
The voices are shutting down
80 hours after the deadly earthquake, rescuers are still working hard to find victims alive. The work is easier when they hear voices under the rubble. When there are cries for help, the officials quickly concentrate on the area, until they find the person crying for help. However, as time goes by, the voices are no longer being held, and that could only mean one thing. The possibility of finding victims alive has become slimmer.
“Time is running out, hundreds of families are still stuck under the rubble. Every second means saving a life,” the White Helmet stated. Although the mission is to find victims alive, it has now become more of a recovery mission for dead bodies in Turkey and Syria.
Experts estimate that the death toll could hit 30,000 at the end of everything.