Ankara/ Damascus (Web Desk/Agencies): The death toll from earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria has soared above 5000, as the rescue and recovery operations are underway despite freezing weather.
Rescue teams continued search for survivors among the rubble of thousands of toppled buildings following the 7.8-magnitude deadly earthquake.
Turkish and Syrian disaster response teams said more than 5,600 buildings were flattened including many multi-storey apartments where residents were asleep as the quake struck.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced seven days national mourning in the country for the victims the earthquake.
World leaders have pledged to send aid after Turkiye issued an international appeal for help.
A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing hundreds, levelling buildings while people were still in their sleep, and sending tremors that were felt as far away as the island of Cyprus.
According to Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) the 7.8 magnitude quake struck at 4.17 a.m. (0117GMT) and was centered in the Pazarcik district in Türkiye’s southern province of Kahramanmaras. The quake occurred at a depth of 7 kilometers (4.3 miles).
AFAD said in a statement that 78 aftershocks occurred following the earthquake. Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana, Adıyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis provinces are heavily affected by the quake.