Plummeting temperatures and snow stall earthquake aid delivery in Turkey

Plummeting temperatures and snow stall earthquake aid delivery in Turkey

Follow the latest on the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Falling temperatures, snow and damaged roads have complicated aid delivery to the most afflicted areas after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Syria and Turkey on Monday.

Authorities in Turkey are co-ordinating rescue and relief efforts as aid from around the world arrives.

But in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, help is yet to arrive.

“I can’t get my brother back from the ruins,” Ali Sagiroglu, a resident in the city, told AFP on Wednesday. “I can’t get my nephew back. Look around here. There is no state official here, for God’s sake.

“For two days we haven’t seen the state around here. Children are freezing from the cold.”

In some places, the debris has been covered by snow.

Temperatures in Hatay, Turkey, and areas such as Idlib in Syria are forecast to remain around or below 0°C until Friday.

The situation is already desperate for the millions of internally displaced people living in tents on the Syrian border with Turkey, with canvas often collapsing under the snow or flooding after rainfall.

The death toll across Syria and Turkey has exceeded 9,000 and many more are being pulled out of the rubble dead or alive. In Syria’s north-west, an impoverished region to where people displaced from the 11-year war in the country have fled, the scarce resources are slowing down rescue operations.

Many of those who have survived are unable to find life-saving medical treatment.

“My whole family is under there — my sons, my daughter, my son-in-law — there’s no one else to get them out,” said Ali Battal, aged in his 60s, a resident in Syria’s northern town of Jindires.

“I hear their voices. I know they’re alive but there’s no one to rescue them.”

Damage from the quake has also had an impact on power and communication lines, affecting people’s ability to communicate with loved ones and seek help.

The World Health Organisation said it is “especially concerned” about areas where little information is available.

“Pray for us. We do not have any internet services, electricity, water or anything,” Fared Al Mahlool, a Syrian activist wrote on Twitter shortly after the quake.

Worldwide campaigns have been launched but the UN said aid flow from Turkey into Syria has halted.

“Some roads are broken, some are inaccessible,” Madevi Sun-Suon, spokeswoman for the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Assistance, told Reuters.

“There are logistical issues that need to be worked through. We are exploring all avenues to reach people in need,” she said.

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