Death Toll In Turkey-Syria Earthquake Passes 11,000

Reuters reports:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visited southern Turkey on Wednesday to see first-hand the destruction wrought by a massive earthquake as anger grew among local people over what they said was a slow government response to the rescue and relief effort.

The combined confirmed death toll from Monday’s quake, which struck a swathe of southern Turkey and neighbouring Syria, rose to more than 11,000 people.

The tally was expected to rise as hundreds of collapsed buildings in many cities have become tombs for people who had been asleep in the homes when the quake hit in the early morning.

NPR reports:

In a visit to Kahramanmaras, a city near the epicenter of the quake, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to survivors, saying “we are face to face with a great disaster.” Erodgan admitted there were shortfalls by his government in the immediate aftermath of the quake, but said nobody would be “left in the streets.”

Aid groups consider the first 72 hours after a natural disaster as crucial for rescuing survivors. In neighboring Syria, the government has blamed Western sanctions for hampering relief efforts, but the U.S. says sanctions do not include humanitarian assistance.

The New York Times reports:

Syria’s foreign minister, Faisal Mekdad, said in an interview with Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen TV on Tuesday that the Syrian government was ready to allow aid for quake victims to enter all regions, provided that it did not reach armed terrorist groups.

More than a quarter of a million people in Turkey are in need of food, clothing and housing, an official with the International Federation of the Red Cross estimated.

Turkey says that more than 60,000 people are working on the relief efforts and more than 4,700 vehicles and construction machines are helping dig through the rubble.