Turkey, Syria in the aftermath of the quake

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Ankara/Damascus, Feb 13 (IANS) The death toll from the twin earthquakes that rocked Turkey and Syria on February 6 touched 29,605 and 1,414 respectively.

Xinhua gathered some facts about quake-hit countries:

Combined casualities

The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkey has climbed to 29,605, the country’s disaster agency was quoted by the Anadolu Agency as saying, bringing the total fatalities with neighbouring Syria to over 33,000, with tens of thousands injured.

Rescue efforts

The first batch of emergency aid, including tents and blankets, delivered by the Chinese government for earthquake relief has arrived in Turkey on Saturday. More emergency supplies, including tents, electrocardiographs, ultrasonic diagnostic equipment and medical transfer vehicles will also be shipped in batches from China.

Syria is also receiving supplies from the Red Cross Society of China and the local Chinese community. The aid from the local Chinese community included infant formulas, winter clothes, and medical supplies, while the first batch of emergency medical supplies from the Red Cross Society of China arrived on Thursday.

On Sunday, Algeria and Libya also sent planes full of relief items to the quake-hit areas. Pakistan on Sunday sent another special relief consignment as part of relief assistance for the earthquake-hit areas of Turkey.

Qatar has sent the first part of the 10,000 container houses for earthquake victims in Turkey, the Anadolu Agency reported.

Meanwhile, foreign heads of state and ministers started to pay visits to Turkey and Syria to show solidarity.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Turkey on Sunday to show support. The Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the first foreign head of state visiting quake-hit Turkey, met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Syria, pledging continued support for the country to overcome the repercussions of the earthquakes, Syrian state news agency SANA reported.

Problems and response

The lack of hygienic facilities has started to endanger the survivors in the quake-hit Turkey.

“The issue of hygiene is becoming more and more urgent,” wrote Ihsan Cakir, deputy general secretary of Hatay Municipality on Friday. The Hatay province was one of the worst hit areas by the earthquakes.

“Underwater sources might have been polluted, with the sewage system in ruins,” said Celalettin Kocaturk, a doctor in Istanbul, adding that now the tap water is not safe for drinking or ablutions. He also warned of an increased risk of an epidemic.

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