Death Toll From Turkiye-Syria Earthquake Surpasses 35,000

Death Toll From Turkiye-Syria Earthquake Surpasses 35,000
The fatality toll from the Turkey-Syria earthquake has climbed to more than 35,000, surpassing the casualty figures from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima disaster (estimated at 19,000).

In Turkey, 20,213 people have died and 80,052 reported injured, according to the country's Health Minister Fahrettin Koça, as per reports from Anadolu Agency.

In neighbouring Syria, at least 3,300 lives have been lost — in government and rebel-held territories — as per state media reports and the Syrian civil defence group popularly known as the 'White Helmets'.

Experts warn that casualty figure will continue to rise.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) chief Mirjana Spoljaric has called for “full humanitarian access”. In a video message from Aleppo, Syria she highlighted the “layers of suffering" of residents of the war torn city.

Meanwhile, White Helmets slammed the UN for delay in humanitarian response. “The UN has committed a crime against the Syrian people in the northwest,” the NGO chief Raed Al-Saleh said. He accused the United Nations of botching its earthquake rescue and relief response in rebel-held areas of northwestern Syria.

The White Helmets group said that UN agencies had not delivered any quake-specific relief to survivors in northwestern Syria since the disaster hit before dawn on Monday. The first aid convoy of the UN entered Syria on 9 February, and the second on Friday.

Leveraging years of emergency humanitarian and medical assistance experience gleaned during Syria's over-decade-long civil war, the White Helmets have been spearheading rescue efforts in rebel-controlled territories with virtually zero international assistance.

"The UN must apologise to the Syrian people," Al-Saleh demanded.