Severe climate hampers earthquake rescuers in Turkey and Syria

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Snow, rain and freezing situations impede search and rescue operations because the quake dying toll neared 1,400.

Bad climate is hampering rescue efforts after a magnitude 7.Eight earthquake struck southern Turkey and northwest Syria, killing about 1,400 individuals and injuring many extra.

According to the US Geological Survey, the earthquake struck at 4:17am (01:17 GMT) on Monday at a depth of about 17.9km (11 miles), resulting in the collapse and destruction of buildings throughout the area. It was additionally felt in Cyprus and Lebanon.

At least 912 deaths had been reported in Turkey, whereas no less than 473 individuals have died in Syria up to now.

In addition to the devastation from the earthquake, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay stated authorities had been additionally fighting “extremely severe weather conditions”.

“We are trying to reach the region as quickly as possible,” Oktay instructed the media.

Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu, reporting from Istanbul, stated harsh winter situations made the scenario on the bottom “very difficult”.

“Everywhere there is snow or rain, and it’s very cold … the weather conditions and the climate is making it very difficult for the rescue workers and civilians,” she stated. “It seems to be the biggest challenge for everyone.”

TV pictures of rescue operations within the southeastern Turkish metropolis of Diyarbakir confirmed dozens of rescuers and volunteers looking by means of rubble of their winter jackets and face scarves with snow on the bottom as they desperately looked for survivors.

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Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr, reporting from Beirut, Lebanon, stated “a severe storm” has hit northern Syria.

“It’s cold, and many people have lost homes – they’re out in the open, and already the north of Syria is home to millions of people who live in tents,” she stated.

“So, this is an emergency that is not going to be easy to deal with,” she added.

‘Horrifying’

Alaa Nafi, from Idlib metropolis in Syria, described the earthquake as “extremely horrific and terrifying”.

“Waking up in the middle of the night to the entire building shaking was the worst feeling ever and made it very hard to escape,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

“Seeing the people with children out on the streets crying in cold weather was heartbreaking, but we all congregated in one area away from all the buildings,” Nafi stated.

A Rescuer Carries A Child, Following An Earthquake, In Rebel-Held Town Of Jandaris, Syria February 6, 2023.
A toddler being rescued within the rebel-held city of Jandaris, Syria [Khalil Ashawi/Reuters]

Al Jazeera journalist Ahmed al-Khatib, who was within the Turkish city of Gaziantep, stated many individuals had been “standing outside in the cold” for the reason that earthquake till among the mosques opened their doorways permitting individuals to take shelter from the freezing situations.

He nonetheless stated many individuals didn’t really feel protected in buildings amid sturdy aftershocks. “You can see whole streets filled with cars and people sitting inside them,” he stated.

“It’s like a nightmare and we wish that we can get out of it,” he added. “It is indescribable.”

Authorities stated the dying toll was prone to rise, whereas specialists warned that aftershocks may proceed for days or even weeks.

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