Day 2 of Turkey-Syria earthquake aftermath: Search for survivors intensifies as death toll crosses 7,200; as it happened

Dozens of nations pledged aid after the 7.8-magnitude quake, which struck the region while people were still sleeping

Mesut Hancer holds the hand of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak, who died in the earthquake in Kahramanmaras. Photo: AFP
Mesut Hancer holds the hand of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak, who died in the earthquake in Kahramanmaras. Photo: AFP

By Web Desk, Agencies

Published: Tue 7 Feb 2023, 7:40 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Feb 2023, 1:34 PM

[Editor's Note: This blog is now closed. For updates on Day 3 of the Turkey-Syria earthquake aftermath, please click here.]

A frantic race was underway Tuesday to find more survivors and help the injured as the death toll from the devastating earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria the previous day passed 7,200. The toll is likely to climb further as freezing weather and multiple aftershocks are hampering the rescue efforts — despite international assistance.

The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed over 800, with some 1,500 injured, according to the Health Ministry. At least 1,000 people have died in the rebel-held northwest (Syria), according to the White Helmets, the emergency organisation leading rescue operations, with more than 2,400 injured.


To see how Day 1 unfolded, click here.

Here's what happened at earthquake zones in Turkey and Syria, and how the UAE and the world are lending a hand to thousands of victims:

11.23pm: US search and rescue teams set to arrive in Turkey

Two U.S. Agency for International Development teams will arrive Wednesday morning in Turkey and will head to the southeastern province of Adiyaman to focus on urban search and rescue following earthquakes that killed more than 6,300 people and left a trail of destruction in Turkey and neighboring Syria.

USAID's disaster assistance response team leader for the earthquake response, Stephen Allen, told reporters on Tuesday the teams will be about 80 people each and also bring 12 dogs and 170,000 pounds of specialized tools and equipment, including for triage and concrete breaking.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

10.23pm: World powers rush to offer Turkey, Syria aid

Countries around the world have mobilised rapidly to send aid and rescue workers after a massive earthquake killed more than 7,000 people in Turkey and Syria.

The EU has mobilised 27 search and rescue and medical teams from 19 countries to help Turkey. They involve over 1,150 rescuers and 70 rescue dogs, EU crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic confirmed Tuesday.

President Joe Biden said that US teams were "deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts".

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said a team of 77 search and rescue specialists, equipment and rescue dogs had arrived in Gaziantep Tuesday in a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The UN also announced a $25 million grant to help kick-start the humanitarian response.

10.09pm: Saudi extends aid

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday ordered the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre "to provide health, shelter, food and logistical assistance" to Syria and Turkey, the official SPA news agency said.

It will also launch a public donation campaign for quake victims in both countries, SPA added.

8.06pm: Ukraine sending 87 rescuers to Turkey

Ukraine would send a team of several dozen rescue workers to Turkey after an earthquake left thousands dead there and in neighbouring Syria.

Kyiv will send "to the republic of Turkey a combined search-and-rescue team of the State Emergency Service consisting of 87 people", including 10 flight crew members, according to Ukraine's government website.

An earthquake survivor. Photo: AFP
An earthquake survivor. Photo: AFP

8pm: UAE President announces $100-million relief fund

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, ordered the provision of $100 million for the relief of those affected by the earthquakes in the sisterly Syrian Arab Republic and the friendly Republic of Turkey.

Sheikh Mohamed's initiative includes providing $50 million to the brotherly Syrian people affected by earthquakes, in addition to $50 million to the friendly Turkish people.

8pm: Missing soccer player found alive in Turkey

Soccer player Christian Atsu of Ghana was found buried alive in the rubble after Monday's earthquake in Turkey. Officials with the Turkish Super Lig club Hatayspor and the Ghana Football Association confirmed Tuesday that he was rescued from a collapsed building and is receiving treatment for unspecified injuries.

A woman mourns for her deceased relative, following an earthquake in Hatay Province, Turkey, February 7, 2023. Photo: Reuters
A woman mourns for her deceased relative, following an earthquake in Hatay Province, Turkey, February 7, 2023. Photo: Reuters

7.31pm: 57 Palestinian refugees died

The Palestinian Authority says 57 Palestinian refugees have died in the quake. Officials said 14 were killed in Turkey and 43 in Syria, which for decades has hosted nearly half a million Palestinians in large refugee camps and remains one of the few Arab states to offer them full civil rights.

7.14pm: Pakistan sets up relief fund

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif set up a relief fund Tuesday for quake-hit Turkey, urging people to donate generously. The federal Cabinet is donating a month’s salary and all government employees a day’s salary toward the fund.

Sharif told Cabinet members that Turkey stood by Pakistan after unprecedented flooding last year submerged almost a third of the country underwater.

6.31pm: Rescuers save lives of mother, 2 daughters

6.20pm: Expats in UAE worry about loved ones trapped in rubble

Dubai resident S.L. said her uncle’s family was stuck under the rubble and she had no update from them. “Right now, we are just hoping for a miracle,” she said.

She added that the worst thing was not being able to speak to her family. “The communication lines are jammed so I have no way to get in touch with anyone,” she said. “I have been glued to my phone and obsessively scouring the news looking for updates. I feel like I am living my worst nightmare.”


5.40pm: Turkish Embassy opens doors to in-kind donations

UAE residents who wish to help the thousands of earthquake victims in Turkey can drop off donations at the country's embassy in Abu Dhabi.

The mission listed a number of necessities that are urgently needed at the moment. These include blankets, jackets, trousers, coats, and food boxes. Click here to check the full list and how to donate.

5.20pm: Many UAE expats plan to fly out, check on loved ones

Travel agencies in the country have seen a spike in enquiries from residents who want to fly to Turkey and Syria to see their loved ones after the devastating earthquakes.

Others are receiving cancellations and rebooking requests, mainly from flyers who were supposed to go on a holiday in Turkey.

5.01pm: 14-month-old baby rescued after being trapped for 33 hours

4.45pm: Turkish port of Iskenderun damaged

The southern Turkish port of Iskenderun has suffered severe structural damage due to an earthquake with all operations halted until further notice, container shipping firm AP Moller Maersk said on Tuesday.

Maersk said in an advisory it was not yet clear when the port would return to normal operations. "Given the situation at Iskenderun, we will need to perform a change of destination for all bookings bound for the port or already on the water," it said.

4.35pm: State of emergency in 10 quake-hit provinces

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 southeastern provinces hit by a major earthquake that has claimed thousands of lives.

Rescue in recovery work in the isolated region near Syria has been hamstrung by a fierce winter storm that has made some roads impassable and slowed the delivery of food and aid.

Erdogan said a series of emergency measures would be taken to flood the affected areas with humanitarian relief workers and financial aid.

Photo: Anadolu agency
Photo: Anadolu agency

3.50pm: Egypt's President Sisi speaks with Syria's Assad

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has spoken with Syria's Bashar al-Assad offering his full support for earthquake relief efforts, Egypt's presidency said on Tuesday.

3.29pm: UNESCO sounds alarm over quake damage to Turkey, Syria heritage

The UN's cultural agency UNESCO said on Tuesday it was ready to provide assistance after two sites listed on its World Heritage list in Syria and Turkey sustained damage in the devastating earthquake.

"Our organisation will provide assistance within its mandate," said UNESCO director general Audrey Azoulay.

A statement from UNESCO said it and partners had already carried out an initial survey of the damage of the quake which struck before dawn on Monday.

It said it was "particularly concerned" about the old city of Aleppo, which has been on its list of World Heritage in Danger since 2013 due to the Syrian civil war.

"Significant damage has been noted in the citadel. The western tower of the old city wall has collapsed and several buildings in the souks have been weakened," it said.

3.19pm: World condoles Turkey, pledges aid

After earthquakes in the southern province of Kahramanmaras and its surrounding provinces, many countries and international organizations sent Türkiye messages of support and assistance.

3.10pm: 3 UAE planes arrive in Turkey carrying relief cargoes for thousands of people in earthquake zones

With their boots, helmets, and vests on, search-and-rescue teams also hopped on board, while rapid-response trucks and vehicles were lifted to the cargo hold. The UAE crew is lending a hand to the scores of rescuers who are working non-stop to search for survives and pull bodies out of the rubble.


3.02pm: Charity organisations UAE residents can donate to

The frantic search for survivors is still on, and emergency response teams worldwide are coming together to help those hit by the tragedy. The UAE was among the first to swing into action, sending aid planes and rescue teams and setting up field hospitals.

While mobilising relief efforts, major humanitarian organisations have launched appeals for urgent donations.

Here are some organisations to donate to:

1. Turkish Red Crescent

2. Unicef

3. The White Helmets

4. International Blue Crescent (IBC)

5. Save the Children


2.46pm: Baby pulled out from rubble in Turkey

A 15-month-old baby is rescued from under the rubble, 31 hours after a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Kahramanmaras, Turkey.

2.37pm: Syria's Red Crescent ready to deliver aid to opposition-held areas

Syria's Red Crescent is ready to deliver relief aid to all the country's regions including opposition-held areas and is urging the United Nation to facilitate this, its head said on Tuesday.

"We do not differentiate between any of the Syrian people. We are the Syrian Arab Red Crescent for all the Syrian people," Khaled Hboubati told in a news conference.

"We are ready to send an aid convoy through the cross line to the stricken areas in Idlib region (in northern Syria). If they (the opposition) opened a road for us, we will go. We have no problem with this," Hboubati said.

He appealed to the United Nations, which has long coordinated the aid and relief operations in opposition-held areas, to help.

2.15pm: Concerned UAE residents plan to visit affected areas, check on loved ones

Travel agents in the UAE said they are getting inquiries from residents who want to fly to Turkey and Syria to see their loved ones after the devastating earthquakes.

Some travel industry players also reported the cancellation of bookings for travel to Turkey, a popular holiday destination among UAE residents, for the month of February.

However, flight operations from UAE to Turkey are operating as scheduled after the quake.

“Inquiries have just begun to come in from families who want to travel to their home countries to see their loved ones and support them in these tough times,” a travel agent said.

He added that they’re also receiving inquiries from travellers about whether it’s safe to travel to quake-hit countries at this point. “It’s a normal curiosity and concern that people have in such times. But I don’t see any big impact on to travel and tourism sector in Turkey,” he added.

1.36pm: 13.5 million people living in quake-damaged areas, Turkish officials say

Turkish government officials have said some 13.5 million people were living in quake-damaged areas and that some progress had been made in restoring power and re-opening highways in the disaster affected areas.

1.23pm: Rescuers go above and beyond

Drone footage shows rescuers working in below-freezing temperatures as they search for survivors in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Malatya, one of Turkey's 10 southern provinces impacted in Monday’s deadly earthquakes.

1.12pm: USGS says 47% chance of up to 10,000 deaths

The United States Geological Survey has said that there is a 47 per cent chance of between 1,000 and 10,000 deaths after the impact of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

12.53pm: Death toll crosses 5,000 in Turkey, Syria

The death toll from a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria rose above 5,000 on Tuesday, official data showed, with rescue workers still searching for trapped survivors.

At least 3,419 people have died in Turkey and 1,602 in government- and rebel-controlled parts of Syria, bringing the total to at least 5,021, officials and medical sources said.

12.42pm: WHO chief worried about silent areas of Turkey, Syria after quake

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it was especially concerned about areas of Turkey and Syria from which no information had emerged following a major earthquake that killed thousands.

"We're especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information. Damage mapping is one way to understand where we need to focus our attention."

12.35pm: Turkey detains four over quake social media posts

Turkish police on Tuesday said they had detained four people over 'provocative' social media posts following a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey.

The quake struck the region early on Monday, killing more than 4,900 people in Turkey and Syria, injuring thousands and leaving many more without shelter in the bitter cold.

The four individuals were detained after officers found accounts that shared "provocative posts aiming to create fear and panic", the police said.

It added that a wider investigation into social media accounts was ongoing but offered no information on the content of the posts.

12.23pm: Former Newcastle winger Atsu pulled alive from Turkey earthquake rubble

Ghana international winger Christian Atsu has been found alive after being buried under rubble in the earthquake that hit Turkey, the vice president of his club Hatayspor told media on Tuesday.

Atsu, who plays for Hatayspor, was reported missing in Turkey's Hatay province following the 7.8 magnitude quake that brought down thousands of buildings, killing nearly 5,000 people, in several Turkish and Syrian cities on Monday.

"Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble," club vice president Mustafa Ozak told Radyo Gol.

12.16pm: Death toll across Turkey, Syria crosses 4,900

Rescuers raced Tuesday to find survivors in the rubble of thousands of buildings brought down by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and multiple aftershocks that struck eastern Turkey and neighboring Syria, with the discovery of more bodies raising the death toll to 4,983.

12.05pm: Earthquake of magnitude 5.7 strikes eastern Turkey region

An earthquake of magnitude 5.7 struck eastern Turkey on Tuesday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The quake was at a depth of 46 km (28.58 miles), the centre added.

11.25am: Survivors mourn as death toll climbs past 4,800 in Turkey, Syria

11.17am: Turkey port fire rages after deadly quake

A large fire that broke out at a section of a port in an earthquake-stricken city in southeast Turkey is raging for a second day.

Television images Tuesday showed thick black smoke rising from burning containers at Iskenderun Port on the Mediterranean Sea, in the city of Iskenderun. Reports said the fire was caused by containers that toppled over during the powerful earthquake that struck southeast Turkey on Monday.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said a Turkish Coast Guard vessel was assisting efforts to extinguish the fire.

11.12am: Over 20,000 injured in Turkey

10.52am: Earthquake death toll for Turkey rises to 3,381 dead, official says

The death toll in Turkey after a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake rose to 3,381, the country's relief agency AFAD said on Tuesday.

The new count brings the confirmed death toll in Turkey and neighbouring Syria to 4,890, after the strongest quake to hit the region in nearly a century.

10.43am: Rescue missions still on

Residents search for victims and survivors amidst the rubble of collapsed buildings as a rainbow forms following an earthquake in Syria's Besnaya.

Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

10.37am: Urgent help needed in Syria

Raed al-Saleh told Reuters urgent help was needed from international groups for the rescue effort by the organisation known as the White Helmets in rebel-held northwest Syria, where hundreds were killed and injured.

"Every second means saving lives and we call on all humanitarian organisations to give material aid and respond to this catastrophe urgently," he said.

10.25am: Doctors Without Borders staff member found dead

The medical aid organization Doctors Without Borders says a staff member has been found dead under the rubble of his house in Syria’s Idlib province following the powerful earthquake that struck Syria and Turkey.

The group says other members of the organization also lost families.

“We are very shocked and saddened by the impact of this disaster on the thousands of people touched by it, including our colleagues and their families,” said Sebastien Gay, the group’s head of mission in Syria.

Gay said health facilities in northern Syria were overwhelmed with medical personnel working around the clock to respond to the huge numbers of injured.

10.17am: Trapped survivors call out for help

Nurgul Atay told The Associated Press she could hear her mother's voice beneath the rubble of a collapsed building in the city of Antakya, the capital of Hatay province, but that her and others efforts to get into the ruins had been futile without any rescue crews and heavy equipment to help.

“If only we could lift the concrete slab we'd be able to reach her,” she said. “My mother is 70-years-old, she won't be able to withstand this for long.”

10.03am: Newborn baby rescued

A newborn baby was rescued after a mother gave birth under the rubble in Syria. The mother and her family reportedly passed away.

9.42am: 5 ways in which UAE is helping Turkey, Syria

1. Sending search-and-rescue teams

The UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, directed that a search-and-rescue team be dispatched to help people affected by the earthquake in Turkey.

2. Setting up field hospitals

Under the directives of the UAE President, a field hospital has been established to help the victims in Turkey.

3. Sending aid planes

The first aid plane took off from Abu Dhabi to Adana Airport, southern Turkey, carrying search and rescue teams, crews, and medical equipment.

4. Launching Gallant Knight / 2 operation

The Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the launch of “Gallant Knight / 2” operation under the directives of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, to provide assistance for the peoples of Syria and Turkey.

5. Pledging Dh50 million in urgent aid

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, directed the dispatch of urgent humanitarian aid worth Dh50 million to Syria on Monday.

9.27am: A woman is rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building in southeastern province of Sanliurfa after 22 hours

9.15am: Map locating the epicentre of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in Turkey on Monday, showing shake intensity in the surrounding region

Graphic: AFP
Graphic: AFP

9.03am: China to give Turkey $6 million in emergency aid for earthquake relief

China will give a first tranche of 40 million yuan ($5.9 million) in emergency aid to help Turkey's relief efforts after this week's major earthquake, state broadcaster CCTV said on Tuesday.

China's Red Cross will give emergency aid of $200,000 each to Turkey and Syria, it added.

8.52am: Harrowing accounts

Freezing winter weather hampered search efforts for survivors through the night. A woman's voice was heard calling for help under a pile of rubble in the southern province of Hatay. Nearby, the body of a small child lay lifeless.

Weeping in the rain, a resident who gave his name as Deniz wrung his hands in despair.

"They're making noises but nobody is coming," he said. "We're devastated, we're devastated. My God ... They're calling out. They're saying, 'Save us,' but we can't save them. How are we going to save them? There has been nobody since the morning."

8.45am: Death toll crosses 4,300 across Turkey, Syria

Rescue teams worked early on Tuesday to release people trapped in the rubble of buildings in southern Turkey as the death toll in the country from a devastating earthquake a day earlier rose to nearly 3,000.

Nearly 8,000 people have been rescued from 4,758 buildings destroyed in the tremors a day earlier, Turkey's Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said in its latest statement.

AFAD head Yunus Sezer said that 2,921 people had died in Turkey as aftershocks continued to shake the region. Another earthquake of 5.6 magnitude struck central Turkey on Tuesday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

At least 1,444 people were killed in Syria and about 3,500 injured, according to figures from the Damascus government and rescue workers in the northwestern region controlled by insurgents.

8.33am: Former Newcastle winger Atsu missing after Turkey earthquake

Ghana international winger Christian Atsu is among those missing after the collapse of an apartment building in Hatay, Turkey, following Monday's huge earthquake.

He scored a 97th minute winner for Turkish top-flight side Hatayspor on Sunday night as they beat Kasımpasa 1-0, but just hours later was reported missing following the 7.8 magnitude quake that brought down whole apartment blocks in several Turkish and Syrian cities.

Hatayspor vice president Mustafa Ozat told Turkish TV station Play Spor: "Christian Atsu and (club sporting director) Taner Savut are still under the rubble."

He told BeIN Sports several players and officials had been rescued and the club was working to help others.

8.27am: India, South Korea among nations sending rescue personnel and supplies

India and South Korea are among nations sending rescue personnel and supplies after a devastating earthquake hit Turkey and northern Syria.

India said it would send 100 members of its Natural Disaster Response Force, specially trained dog squads and equipment to Turkey. Medical teams with trained doctors, paramedics and essential medicines are also ready, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

South Korea will dispatch a 60-person search and rescue team and also send medical supplies.

In announcing the plan Tuesday, South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol described Turkey as a “brother nation” that sent troops to fight alongside South Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. Turkey lost more than 700 of its forces in action.

8.13am: Provinces, people affected by the earthquake as of last night

8.08am: Military plane carrying people injured in earthquake reaches Atatürk Airport, Istanbul

7.49am: Earthquake of magnitude 5.6 strikes central Turkey

An earthquake of 5.6 magnitude struck central Turkey on Tuesday, the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) said.

The quake was at a depth of 2 km, EMSC said.

7.15am: Rescuers dig out people from the rubble after buildings collapse in Turkey, Syria

7.08am: Rescuers scramble in Turkey, Syria after quake kills 4,000

Rescuers in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria searched through the frigid night into Tuesday, hoping to pull more survivors from the rubble after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 4,000 people and toppled thousands of buildings across a wide region.

Authorities feared the death toll from Monday's pre-dawn earthquake and aftershocks would keep climbing as rescuers looked for survivors among tangles of metal and concrete spread across the region beset by Syria’s 12-year civil war and refugee crisis.


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