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Hope erodes for Turkey and Syria earthquake survivors as death toll passes 21,000 | World | News

rescue teams in and are facing down worried families as the combined death toll reaches 21,000. The total will likely only grow as people remain trapped under the rubble four days after the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 tremors struck on February 6, decimating large swathes of Turkey’s south and Syria’s north. The window for finding survivors has shrunk exponentially since Monday, and fears remain for the whereabouts of thousands of people, among them a team of missing volleyball players.

The latest official estimates from Turkey pin the national death toll at around 18,342, while volunteer groups working in Syria’s rebel-held and government believe 3,377 people have died.

The number marks an overnight increase of 668 on the previous toll and passes the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) prediction earlier this week that rescuers would find 20,000 people dead following the tremors.

Scores of Turks and Syrians remain unaccounted for, with search efforts desperately trying to locate a team of volleyball players.

The girls’ and boys’ teams from Famagusta Turkish Maarif College in Northern Cyprus had travelled to Adiyaman, in Turkey’s southeast, for a tournament before the quakes hit, and the majority remain missing.

The group of 39 included the team, parents and teachers, only four of whom have been found alive.

They safely broke free from the rubble of the multi-storey Isias Hotel as it crumbled earlier this week.

There is no good news yet of the remaining 35, as rescuers recovered the bodies of two teachers and one student over Wednesday, February 8 and Thursday, February 9.

READ MORE: Erdogan faces backlash after taking down Twitter over Turkey response

Anxious families have flocked to the site to await news of their loved ones, but they have heard nothing.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail, one mother said the eight-story hotel has “completely collapsed” as rescuers cannot provide updates on their children.

The anxious parents in Adiyaman reflect the general mood across earthquake-stricken Turkey and Syria.

Officials and experts have warned since the first day of fallout that rescuers have up to a week to find people alive, with a mess of factors making their survival increasingly unlikely.

The most profoundly impacted areas have seen temperatures plummet overnight, in some cases as low as -6C, and rising into the low single figures in the day.

The cold raises the risk of people dying from hypothermia, while others may eventually succumb to starvation.

The latter risk also remains for survivors who have already escaped the devastation.

People left homeless are struggling to survive in the cold, with aid yet to arrive and provide vital food and assistance.

The first United Nations (UN) aid convoy crossed into Syria on February 9, while Turks have complained about the national government’s failure to reach them.

Speaking to Japan Today, Turkish survivor Ahmet Tokgoz said the situation remains dire for survivors.

He said: “If people haven’t died from being stuck under the rubble, they’ll die from the cold.”


For Syrians, who already had sparse food and water supplies due to the ongoing civil war, the UN aid will only provide the “tip of the iceberg of what’s required”, volunteers have said.

Aid worker Anwar, from North West Syria, said: “The need is immense, and surpasses the current capacities of the local Syrian humanitarian organisations in the north of Syria.”

In the bleak desperation of recovery efforts, some people are still emerging largely unscathed.

A Romanian and Polish team pulled a two-year-old boy from the rubble in Hatay on Thursday, 79 hours after he was trapped.

A video released by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) showed the toddler crying as volunteers scooped him from a hole in the debris.

Volunteers rescued a teenager early this morning after he spent 94 hours pinned by rubble in Gaziantep.

The teen, named as 17-year-old Adnan Muhammed Korkut, emerged to crowds of family members and friends before dawn on Friday.

They greeted him ecstatically with tears in their eyes as they chanted his name.

He thanked rescuers and loved ones after taking desperate measures to ensure his survival.

Rescue worker Yasemin told him: “I swear to you, I have not slept for four days. I swear I did not sleep; I was trying to get you out.”

*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.