Turkish officials have started rebuilding residential places after catastrophic earthquakes as the combined death toll in Turkey and Syria crossed 50,000. Reports in international media quoting the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority claimed that the number of deaths in Turkey soared to over 44,000.
The number of fatalities in Syria has reached around 6,760. Of those 6760, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 2234 had died in areas under the control of the government and 4526 had died in opposition-controlled areas, mostly in northwestern Syria.
Millions of people are in dire need of assistance while outside in severe weather, as the death toll has surpassed the 50,000 mark. The UN and other international organisations have issued warnings that at least a million people in the impacted areas urgently need food.
A 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6; a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck a short while afterwards. Since then, the area has experienced almost 9,000 aftershocks, according to the AFAD.
In the 11 regions of Turkey affected by the earthquake, there are still close to 240,000 rescuers working, including volunteers. Although it was initially challenging to reach some of the damaged areas, recovery activities are still ongoing, and the number of casualties is increasing.
The Turkish government reports that 173,000 buildings have so far been recorded as collapsing or being severely damaged, and that nearly 530,000 people have been evacuated from the disaster area in Turkey alone. More than 1.9 million people have sought refuge in hotels, public buildings, and temporary shelters.
The United Nations estimates that 8.8 million people in Syria have been affected by the earthquake, compared to almost 20 million in Turkey. Less information has come from Syria, where many people were already living in precarious conditions after years of civil war.