President Erdogan’s acceptance came as the combined reported death toll across Turkey and neighbouring Syria rose past 15,000
Amid the anger from those who were left bereft and disappointed over the slow response of the rescue teams, President Erdogan of Turkey on Wednesday admitted there were problems with his government’s initial response to the earthquake. He said that everything is now working properly and also promised that no one would be left homeless.
Lack of Equipment and Support
For the people of southern Turkey, there was no relief as they sought out temporary shelter and food in the freezing cold weather. Across a large swath of southern Turkey, people sought temporary shelter and food in the freezing winter weather. Their misery increased when they were forced to wait in anguish near debris with their family and friends inside.
Rescue efforts are still going on, but many people have complained that the pace of the rescue effort is very slow. There is a dearth of equipment and expertise, as many Turks themselves can sometimes hear the cries for help from the debris. The situation is so bad that the affected Turks are offering to help in the rescue efforts.
Similar condition in Syria
Similar situations were seen in neighboring Syria, whose north was badly affected by the earthquake. The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations admitted that there was a lack of both equipment and capabilities. He blamed a decade of civil war and western sanctions for it.
The death toll is expected to rise, as many people were asleep when the earthquake hit the cities. There is much debris from collapsed buildings that has yet to be properly looked into for survivors.
Condition of People in the Cities of Turkey
In Turkish cities like Antakya, dead bodies covered in blankets and body bags were kept on the ground outside a hospital. Many survivors bemoaned the lack of rescue teams and stated that they would die of hunger and cold.
In the freezing night, many people in the city or disaster zone opt to sleep in the car or in the streets under a blanket. They were fearful of going back into buildings shaken by the 7.8-magnitude tremor. This is Turkey’s deadliest earthquake since 1999.
Day by day, the confirmed death toll is rising. As per the latest update, as of Wednesday, the confirmed death toll was 9,057 in Turkey and 2,950 in Syria. According to Turkish officials, nearly 13.5 million people were affected in an area of around 450 km from Adana in the west to Diyarbakir in the east.
Some of the people who died in Turkey were refugees from Syria’s war. Approximately 298,000 people have become homeless. The rescue effort is still going on. From the videos and images being released, it shows the painful and heartbreaking condition of the survivors.
Among these, there are many miraculous survival stories too. In a Turkish province, a 4-year-old girl defied fate by surviving more than 33 hours trapped on the first floor of a destroyed three-story building.
In a province in Syria, a newly born child was found with her umbilical cord still attached to the mother. The mother died, but the baby survived and is stable now.
President Erdogan has declared emergencies in 10 provinces. He soon arrived in Kahramanmaras to take stock of the matter himself. Speaking to reporters, he said that there were problems with roads and airports, but they are in better condition today. They still have some issues with fuel, but those will be overcome soon.
Erdogan accepted that there were problems with his government’s initial response to the disaster but also defended his government, stating that it was impossible to prepare for a disaster of such a large scale.