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Turkey and Syria earthquakes: at least 33,000 people died according to officials

On Sunday, February 12, the World Health Organization gave new numbers: 26 million disaster victims and “at least 5 million vulnerable victims” of the Syria and Turkey earthquakes on Monday, February 6. Furthermore, officials stated that 33 179 died of the seisms. 29 605 in Turkey, according to the Earthquake Humanitarian Aid Campaign, and 3 574 in Syria.


In Kahramanmaras, Turkey to help the victims, the United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths stated: “We have not yet really started to count the number of dead (…) Soon, those responsible for search and rescue will give way to humanitarian agencies whose job will be to deal, over the coming months, with the number extraordinary number of people affected.” 


Furthermore, the World Health Organization urgently called for 42.8 million dollars in donations on Saturday, February 12 to help all the victims of the earthquakes and the rescuers and to help the victim searches and the survivors’ hospitalization. 


On Sunday, February 12, United Hatzalah, an Israeli-free, volunteer-based emergency medical services organization stopped being active in Turkey. The organization said: “ [We want to] finish the mission and return to Israel as soon as possible. We have unfortunately received information of a concrete and immediate threat against the Israeli delegation and we must prioritize the safety of our workers.” 


Moreover, Greece's Foreign Affairs Minister, Nikos Dendias was in Turkey on Sunday, February 12 to support Turkey and the earthquake victims despite the conflict between the two countries. Dendias said: “We should not wait for natural disasters to improve our relations. The Greek effort will not stop here. Greece will do everything to support Turkey, either bilaterally or as a member of the European Union.” On Twitter, he added: “I was warmly welcomed today in Turkey by my counterpart, Melvut Cavusoglu, on the first visit by a European FM to Turkey since the earthquakes. Greece stands in solidarity with Turkey in this critical moment and is ready to support the relief efforts further.”


Pakistan’s Primer Minister, Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter: “Deeply moved by the example of an anonymous Pakistani who walked into the Turkish embassy in the US and donated $30 million for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.” Another politician used Twitter to show support for Syria’s victims. The Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto tweeted: "We were the first in Europe to send aid to Syria. [The aid is] transported to Beirut because we couldn't land in Aleppo. Now [it] will reach Damascus and be sorted by the Red Crescent.”


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