Ankara/ Damascus (Web Desk/Agencies): The death toll from deadly earthquake in Turkiye and Syria has risen to more than 35,000.
At least 31,643 people have died in Turkiye while more than 4,500 have been killed in Syria.
Rescue teams are continuing their efforts to find survivors from the rubble a week after the earthquakes devastated both the countries.
Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a $43 million appeal to support earthquake response in Syria and Turkiye.
According to a press release issued at UN Headquarters in New York on Sunday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the amount is set to increase as the magnitude of the disaster becomes clearer.
Speaking during a press conference from the Syrian capital, Damascus, Tedros also reported that the Syrian authorities appear open to allowing more border crossings to deliver humanitarian aid into the northwest.
War-ravaged Syria is divided into areas under the control of the government, opposition forces and armed groups.
WHO said it is working across all areas affected by the earthquake, which struck on Monday.
The UN agency is also scaling up operations across the country, including in the northwest, where the impact is even worse.
More than 4,300 deaths and 7,600 injuries have been reported there, according to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA.
Prior to the earthquake, 4.1 million people were already dependent on humanitarian aid, and their needs were at an all-time high.
Tedros stressed the need to take response “to the next level” to reach all populations in need.
He welcomed the decision by the United States (US) to ease sanctions against Syria in the wake of the tragedy.
The earthquake is the latest crisis to hit Syria, following the ongoing conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic, cholera outbreaks, and economic decline.
According to Turkiye’s Disaster Management Authority (AFAD), the 7.8 magnitude quake struck at 4.17 a.m. (0117GMT) on February 6 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.