According to the UN and the Syrian government, Turkish authorities say 35,418 people have been killed in the country, while more than 5,800 people are dead in Syria. The WHO describes the earthquakes in Turkey as the worst natural disaster in a century in what it characterizes as its Europe region.
More than 8,000 people have been pulled out alive from rubble in Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. As per UN estimates, up to 5.3 million people in Syria may be homeless after the earthquakes. Nearly 900,000 people are in urgent need of food in Turkey and Syria.
According to Reuters, in a central district of one of the worst-hit cities, Antakya in southern Turkey, business owners emptied their shops on Sunday to prevent merchandise from being stolen by looters. Residents and aid workers who came from other cities cited worsening security conditions, with widespread accounts of businesses and collapsed homes being robbed.
Facing questions over his response to the earthquake as he prepares for a national election that is expected to be the toughest of his two decades in power, President Tayyip Erdogan has said the government will deal firmly with looters, Reuters reported.
In Syria, the disaster hit hardest in the rebel-held northwest, leaving homeless yet again many people who had already been displaced several times by a decade-old civil war. The region has received little aid compared to government-held areas.
“We have so far failed the people in north-west Syria,” United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths tweeted from the Turkey-Syria border, where only a single crossing is open for U.N. aid supplies.
Washington called on the Syrian government and all other parties in the country to immediately grant humanitarian access to all those in need.