Syria and Turkey: Strong aftershocks expected - more than 45,000 dead

Strong aftershocks continue to shake the region as people struggle to survive in the earthquake area.

Syria and Turkey: Strong aftershocks expected - more than 45,000 dead

Strong aftershocks continue to shake the region as people struggle to survive in the earthquake area. For the coming days, the Turkish Civil Protection Afad expects earthquakes with a magnitude of more than 5. There is an aftershock in the region about every four minutes, Afad Managing Director for Risk Reduction, Orhan Tatar, told the state news agency Anadolu. So far there have been more than 4700 aftershocks.

More than 84,000 buildings in Turkey have collapsed or been severely damaged, the Minister of Urban Planning, Murat Kurum, said on Friday. Thousands of houses have also been destroyed in Syria. In the earthquake areas, authorities are therefore still warning people not to return to their homes.

In Turkey there is already no drinking water in some places because of the destruction, as the head of the Medical Association (TTB) in Adana in southern Turkey, Selahattin Mentes, said. The district of Nurdag in Gaziantep is affected. Elsewhere, the tap water could possibly be contaminated by mixing with the sewage system. "We urgently need access to clean drinking water in the region and we have to establish hygiene. In addition, the garbage has to be disposed of." Otherwise there is a risk of infectious diseases such as cholera.

Helpers find two buried people in Antakya

Eleven days after the quake, there are still sensational reports from Turkey about rescues. The state-affiliated broadcaster CNN Türk reported that helpers in the Turkish city of Antakya had rescued two people who had been buried from the rubble after 261 hours.

According to the Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, one of the two young men insisted on calling a relative immediately after his release. A video showed how a person called burst into tears on the phone when he heard about the rescued.

According to Anadolu, even one man was rescued in Hatay after 278 hours. The information could not be independently verified.

Meanwhile, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad announced in a cynical television speech that the consequences of the war in the country had prepared the population for the earthquake. "The war, which drained resources and weakened capabilities, gave Syrian society the experience to deal with the earthquake."

Airlift from Frankfurt to Turkey

Syria's rulers are brutally taking action against their own people in the conflict. He is accused of crimes against humanity, including the use of chemical weapons. The war broke out in 2011. More than 350,000 people have died so far.

Support for the earthquake victims continues to come from many countries. Despite a Verdi warning strike, an airlift with relief supplies from Frankfurt to Turkey started on Friday. According to a survey, a majority of Germans also supports temporary admission of those affected. Almost 7 out of 10 respondents (69 percent) spoke out in favor of easier visa allocation in the current Germany trend for the ARD "Morgenmagazin". 23 percent are against the fact that the victims from Turkey can temporarily stay with relatives in Germany.

In other countries, too, there is great sympathy for the catastrophe in Turkey and Syria. In commemoration of the victims, the famous Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro was dipped in the national colors of the two countries.

First EU aid for Syria arrived

According to the EU Commission, the first EU aid arrived in Syria on Friday. Goods such as beds or shelters should go to regions that are not controlled by the Syrian government. They first arrived in Lebanon and Turkey by plane and were to be taken from there to Syria. The EU also wants to deliver winter-proof tents, heaters and hygiene items. According to the Commission, millions of aid supplies have already been made available to Turkey.

International earthquake aid can sometimes also fulfill another positive purpose, as the example of Greece shows: Thanks to his country's support for the Turkish earthquake region, the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis hopes that the tension between the two neighboring countries will ease. Athens and Ankara are at odds over sovereign rights and natural gas deposits in the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean. In recent months, Turkey has repeatedly threatened to invade Greek islands.

More than a week ago, a 7.7-magnitude tremor shook southeastern Turkey, followed hours later by a second severe 7.6-magnitude tremor. The number of confirmed deaths in Turkey and Syria is still rising - on Friday it was more than 45,000. In Turkey, it increased to 39,672 deaths, as the Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Friday evening, according to Anadolu. At least 5,900 deaths have been reported in Syria, but the number is only updated infrequently. Tens of thousands were also injured, and thousands are still missing. Millions are affected by the effects of the violent earthquakes.