Death toll in Turkey and Syria earthquakes rises to nearly 8,000

Officials expect the number of reported deaths to increase significantly as operations continue.

Freezing weather is hindering rescue teams as they race to save people still trapped in the rubble after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in the early morning hours Monday ripped through the region.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces Tuesday as residents in some cities dug for loved ones with their bare hands.

In Syria, the disaster compounded an already dire humanitarian crisis made worse by more than a decade of sanctions and war. More than 7,900 have been confirmed dead.

The epicenter of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake was about 20 miles from Gaziantep.

Turkey has reported at least 5,894 deaths and 34,810 injuries. In government-controlled parts of Syria, at least 812 people were killed and 1,449 injured, according to state media. And civil-defense workers in the rebel-held northwest reported more than 1,220 deaths and 2,600 injuries.

Monday’s earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including an unusually powerful 7.5-magnitude quake. Erdogan announced a state of emergency in 10 provinces affected by the disaster.

People in northwest Syria were already in need of humanitarian aid, the United Nations said. Many of the more than 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey live in areas devastated by the quake.

Credit: The Washington Post

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