Death toll in Turkey, Syria earthquake at 28,000 and still climbing

Rescuers pulled a survivor from earthquake rubble on Sunday, six days after one of the worst natural disasters to hit parts of Syria and Turkey, as the death toll exceeded 28,000 and looked set to rise further.

Facing questions over his handling of Turkey’s most devastating earthquake since 1939, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to start rebuilding within weeks, saying hundreds of thousands of buildings were wrecked.

In Syria, the disaster hit hardest in the rebel-held northwest, leaving many homeless for a second time after they were displaced by a decade-old civil war, though the region has received little aid compared to government-held areas.

The European Union’s envoy to Syria urged Damascus not to politicize issues of humanitarian aid, rejecting accusations that the bloc had failed to provide sufficient help to Syrians after Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake and major aftershocks.

“It is absolutely unfair to be accused of not providing aid, when actually we have constantly been doing exactly that for over a decade and we are doing so much more even during the earthquake crisis,” Dan Stoenescu told Reuters.

Rescue after 149 hours

In Turkey’s southeastern province of Hatay, a Romanian rescue team carried a 35-year-old man named Mustafa down a pile of debris from a building, broadcaster CNN Turk said, about 149 hours after the quake.

“His health is good, he was talking,” said one of the rescuers. “He was saying, ‘Get me out of here quickly, I’ve got claustrophobia.'”

The team placed in a waiting ambulance before hugging each other.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media Saturday during a visit to the hard-hit southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir. (Ilyas Akengin/AFP/Getty Images)

On Saturday, Gizem, a rescue worker from the southeastern province of Sanliurfa said she had seen looters in the city of Antakya. “We cannot intervene much, as most of the looters carry knives.”

Police and soldiers fanned out to keep order and help with traffic, rescues…


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