As the death toll continues to climb beyond 5,000 after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck large parts of southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on Monday — with tremors felt in neighboring countries — rescue efforts are underway to help those affected and retrieve people trapped under the rubble.
Thousands of others have been injured. And scores of aftershocks have rattled the region, including a second 7.5-magnitude tremor.
Rescue teams are facing frigid winter temperatures. Ankara has formally requested help from NATO. Meanwhile, the Syrian government is not in control of its quake-stricken areas because of its ongoing civil war. Global leaders have offered condolences and assistance to both countries.
The World's Durrie Bouscaren discussed the unfolding situation with host Marco Werman.
"People are desperately trying to reach survivors," she said. "They're trapped under the rubble and rescuers know they're facing a ticking clock. But rescue crews are spread out over an impossibly large area. The worst damage is spread over 10 Turkish provinces as well as northern Syria. And even getting to these victims is hard."
She explained that there are road closures and electricity and cellphone services are down in many areas, and multiple airports have suspended their flights. The Turkish disaster agency has asked for donations of blankets, electric generators and warm clothes. In places like Gaziantep, people with cars are trying to stay warm in their vehicles in an attempt to stay away from buildings and other structures that could collapse. They've been told not to leave the city because roads are badly damaged.
In the southeastern part of Turkey, home to minority groups and Syrian refugees, "A lot of people live in small towns and villages," she said. "They're spread out. It's an incredibly vulnerable population. People don't have a lot of savings to fall back on. They live in homes that often don't have a lot of up-to-date construction. And this just happened in probably the most-vulnerable section of the country."
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