Ankara/ Damascus (Web Desk/Agencies): The death toll from earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria has soared above 9,600 as the search and rescue operations are underway.
According to International media reports, At least 7,108 people have died in Turkiye, while more than 2,530 people have been killed in Syria.
The death toll could further surge as rescue workers continue search for survivors under the rubbles of thousands of toppled buildings despite freezing-cold weather.
Relatives of victims, and global rescue teams including from Pakistan have also joined the rescue efforts in the worst-hit cities.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake and urged nations to rush help to the disaster zone.
The Syrian Red Crescent appealed to Western countries to lift sanctions and provide aid as President Bashar al-Assad’s government remains a pariah in the West, complicating international relief efforts.
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).
FAD 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.