Rising toll makes quake deadliest in Türkiye's modern history

Rising toll makes quake deadliest in Türkiye's modern history

Rising toll makes quake deadliest in Türkiyes modern history

At least 35,418 people have died in Türkiye as a result of last week’s earthquake, making it the deadliest such disaster since the country’s founding 100 years ago.

While the death toll is almost certain to rise even further, many of the tens of thousands of survivors left homeless were still struggling to meet basic needs, like finding shelter from the bitter cold.

Confirmed deaths in Türkiye passed those recorded from the massive Erzincan earthquake in 1939 that killed around 33,000 people.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said 105,505 were injured as a result of the Feb. 6 quake centered around Kahramanmaraş and its aftershocks. Almost 3,700 deaths have been confirmed in neighboring Syria, taking the combined toll in both countries to over 39,000.

The president, who has referred to the quake as “the disaster of the century,” said more than 13,000 people were still being treated in hospital.

Speaking in Ankara following a five-hour Cabinet meeting held at the headquarters of disaster agency AFAD, Erdoğan said 47,000 buildings, which contained 211,000 residences, had been destroyed or were so badly damaged as to require demolition.

Aid agencies and governments were stepping up efforts to bring help to devastated parts of Türkiye and Syria.

The death toll in both countries is nearly certain to rise as search teams turn up more bodies — and the window for finding survivors was closing.

Nevertheless, rescuers pulled a 77-year-old woman alive from the rubble of a collapsed building in Adıyaman on Feb. 14, prompting cheers from onlookers 212 hours after she was buried by the huge earthquake.

Teams also reached 18-year-old Muhammed Cafer Çetin in Adıyaman, and medics gave him an IV with fluids before attempting a dangerous extraction from a building that crumbled further as rescuers were working. Medics fitted him with a neck brace, and he was carted away on a stretcher with an oxygen mask.

In Hatay’s Antakya district, more than 200 hours after the quake struck, teacher Emine Akgül was pulled from an apartment building by a mining search and rescue team, local media reported, while a foreign national couple, Faez Ghanam and Fatma Ghanam, was also rescued from the rubble of one of the dozens of buildings that collapsed in the district around 209 hours after the tremor.

Meanwhile, rescue teams in Kahramanmaraş’s Dulkadiroğlu district first rescued 17-year-old Muhammed Enes Yeninar and then his brother 21-year-old brother, Baki Yeninar, 198 hours after the major disaster. The injured brothers were taken to the hospital.

Chatting with the rescue teams for a while amid the operation, Baki Yeninar said he held on to life by consuming protein powder under the debris.