According to the World Health Organisation, the magnitude of the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria “overwhelmed everybody” – despite warnings that aid should be accelerated urgently in order to save lives.
Both countries continue to see an increase in the number of deaths, now standing at over 33,000
Dr Michael Ryan, WHO executive director, stated that it was misleading to compare the impacts in both countries. He said so much relied on the “extent” of the earthquake and the “population density”.
Dr Ryan stated, “There’s no doubt, certainly on the side Turkey there’s an experience in terms search and rescue, as well as disaster response.”
“They’ve had their fair share disasters in the past, but it seems that this disaster has overtaken everyone.”
There have been critics about the amount of aid that has reached Syria. The worst-affected region is dominated by an Islamist group, which is wary of receiving shipments from the government.
Also, only one border crossing is open between Turkey and northwest Syria. The first UN convoy arrived in the area on Thursday.
Speaking in Syria, the WHO panel said that the country was not only dealing with the aftermath, but also freezing temperatures, and the end to a cholera epidemic.
Dr Rick Brennan, regional emergency director, stated that approximately 350,000 people were homeless in Aleppo or Latakia and that it was an “enormous undertaking” to provide care.
He stated that many people were being accommodated in schools, mosques, churches, and other centres, but that there was an overcrowding problem.
He stated, “They are unacceptable conditions, so we’re working with partners to explore other options.”
Poor sanitation and a large population increase the risk of contracting a disease.
Syrian people ‘abandoned’
Martin Griffiths is the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator and will be visiting Syria to improve aid flow.
“We have failed the people of northwest Syria so far. They feel completely abandoned. He tweeted Sunday, “Looking for international assistance that hasn’t arrived.”
Sky’s Kay Burley was informed by him that additional border crossings between Turkey and Syria should be opened immediately to “save lives”.described it as an “an open-and-close case on humanitarian terms”.
Andrew Mitchell, UK’s development minister, said in a Sky News interview, that aid to Syria was “far more stretched than its neighbor.”
He stated that he believes total deaths in both countries could be around 50,000.
Eyewitness: The search for life becomes a bid to honor the dead
Some aid organizations are forced to stop work because of ‘clashes’
The Disasters Emergency Committee reported on Sunday that the sum raised in Britain by British citizens exceeded PS60m in three days.
The money is distributed by the committee to a number of top UK charities.
One week after Monday’s earthquake on Monday, the chances that more people will be dug out alive – just like the boy who was rescued after five days – are almost gone.
Now, the focus is on recovering the many bodies that were trapped beneath the rubble of the collapsed buildings.
According to Fuat Oktay, Turkish vice president Fuat Oktay, around 131 people involved in the construction industry were detained or had warrants issued for them.
Most of the buildings that collapsed were not built to code.
According to the justice ministry, it will establish an Earthquake Crimes Investigation Bureau.
Some areas in Turkey have also reported theft of homes and businesses. The country’s justice minister said that 57 people were arrested.
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Erdogan said that thieves would be dealt with severely, but business owners have been seen emptying shops.
Two rescuers from the Austrian Army and two German aid organizations were also made to stop work on Saturday due to “clashes between different groups” as well as “shots fired in one Turkish village”.