Turkey- Syria Quake: Death Toll Above 37,000; Rescue Ops Enter Final Phase

The death toll in the worst-ever quake in 3 decades that hit Turkey and Syria a week ago now stands has exceeded over 37,000 people – 31,643 in Turkey and 5,714 in Syria. 

The head of the Syrian opposition-run main rescue group Tuesday lambasted the U.N.’s decision that provided Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a say in sanctioning their aid deliveries through two new border crossings from Turkey. “This is shocking and we are at loss at how the U.N. is behaving,” Raed al Saleh, head of the White Helmets group, told reporters.

Meanwhile, the search for survivors entered its final hours in Turkey as rescuers used sniffer dogs and thermal cameras to survey pulverized apartments for any sign of life in the rubble. In city of Aleppo Syria, the rescue phase seems to come to an end. UN aid chief Martin Griffiths said that the rescue phase was “coming to a close”, with focus shifting to shelter, food and schooling. Stories of such rescues have flooded the airwaves in recent days.

According to Turkey’s Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum, some 42,000 buildings had either collapsed, were in urgent need of demolition, or were severely damaged across ten cities. Damage of around $84 billion is being estimated.

Reports are also making rounds that scammers are swindling donations being sent to the catastrophe-hit nations. Experts have warned of scams issuing a be alert notice to the international donators.

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