Turkey and Syria earthquake updates: death toll passes 21,000; US grants aid licence pausing Syrian sanctions – live news | Turkey-Syria earthquake 2023

key events

A teenager was pulled largely unharmed from the rubble of a collapsed building in the Turkish city of Gaziantep early Friday, four days after the earthquake struck.

Before dawn in Gaziantep, near the epicenter of the quake, rescuers Adnan Muhammed Korkut pulled out of the basement where he had been locked since Monday’s quake. The 17-year-old smiled at the crowd of friends and relatives who chanted his name, clapped and cried tears of joy as he was carried out and placed on a stretcher.

“Thank God you’ve arrived,” he said, hugging his mother and others, who leaned forward to kiss and hug him as he was loaded into an ambulance. “Thanks to all.”

Trapped but not crushed for 94 hours, the teenager said he was forced to drink his own urine to quench his thirst.

“That’s how I survived,” he says.

“I have a son like you,” said a rescue worker, identified only as Yasemin, after giving him a warm hug. “I swear to you, I haven’t slept in four days. I swear I haven’t slept; I was trying to get you out.” (via AP)

Good morning This is Sam Jones handling our liveblog coverage of the earthquake that devastated southern Turkey and northern Syria. I’ll update you on the aftermath of the disaster throughout the day.

A Syrian girl whose mother died after giving birth under the rubble of her home during this week’s earthquake has now been given a name: Aya, Arabic for “a sign from God.”

After her parents and all her siblings are killed, her great-uncle Salah al-Badran will take her in as soon as she is discharged from the hospital.

Baby Aya is treated in an incubator at a children's hospital in the city of Afrin, Syria.
Baby Aya is treated in an incubator at a children’s hospital in the city of Afrin, Syria. Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

But his own house in the north-west Syrian city of Jenderis was also destroyed. He and his family were able to flee the one-story building, but now he and his household of 11 live in a tent, he told the Associated Press.

“After the earthquake, no one can live in their house or building. Only 10% of the buildings here are safe to live in and the rest are uninhabitable,” he said, communicating via voice messages:

The death toll rises to 21,719

The death toll in Turkey has risen to 18,342, bringing the total number of people killed to 21,719, a staggering number in just five days and expected to keep growing. It’s an overnight increase of 668 people.

According to the latest reports from Syria, 3,377 people have died there.

Australia has dispatched a search and rescue team of 72 people to assist Turkish authorities.

The team will take around 22 tons of gear and essential supplies, including tents, bandages, bolt cutters, chainsaws and drills, and fend for themselves.

Defense Secretary Richard Marles told reporters in Canberra on Friday the team will “make a real difference when it’s on the ground.”

He noted that Australia had previously announced a $6.9 million contribution to the relief effort.

The rescue of several survivors from the rubble of buildings in Turkey lifted spirits from weary search parties on Friday, four days after a powerful earthquake struck the country and neighboring Syria, killing at least 20,000 people.

Cold, hunger and despair gripped hundreds of thousands of people who were left homeless by the tremors, the deadliest in the region in decades.

Several people were rescued from the rubble of buildings during the night, including a 10-year-old boy who was rescued with his mother after 90 hours in Hatay province’s Samandag district, AP reports.

Also in Hatay, a seven-year-old girl named Asya Donmez was rescued after 95 hours and taken to the hospital, state-run Anadolu News Agency reported.

But hopes were fading that many more would be found alive in the ruins of thousands of collapsed buildings in cities across the region.

The death toll from the 7.8 magnitude quake and several powerful aftershocks in both countries has surpassed the more than 17,000 killed in 1999 when a similarly powerful earthquake struck northwestern Turkey.

It is now the seventh-deadliest natural disaster this century, ahead of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in 2011 and approaching the 31,000 killed by a quake in neighboring Iran in 2003.

The US issues an auxiliary license to suspend Syrian sanctions

The US Treasury Department said Thursday it had granted a license to allow earthquake-related relief efforts otherwise prohibited by sanctions against Syria.

“US sanctions in Syria will not stand in the way of life-saving efforts for the Syrian people,” Deputy Finance Minister Wally Adeyemo said in a statement. “While U.S. sanctions programs already include robust exemptions for humanitarian efforts, the Treasury Department today issued a blanket general license authorizing earthquake relief efforts so those providing assistance can focus on what’s most needed: saving lives and rebuilding .”

The license is valid for six months. It extends the comprehensive humanitarian permits already in place.

The United States will provide Turkey and Syria with an initial $85 million in earthquake aid, including medicines, shelter and other supplies, President Joe Biden announced. “Our hearts remain with the people of Türkiye and Syria,” he said on Twitter:

The United States will provide $85 million in much-needed assistance following the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria — including food and shelter, supplies to help families weather the cold and medicines to help save lives .

Our hearts remain with the people of Türkiye and Syria.

— President Biden (@POTUS) February 9, 2023

The death toll exceeds 21,000

More than 21,000 people were killed and thousands more injured in Turkey and Syria as efforts continued for a fifth day in freezing conditions on Friday to rescue those still trapped under rubble.

Officials and medics said Thursday that 17,674 people had died in Turkey and 3,377 in Syria, bringing the confirmed total to 21,051.


Hello, my name is Helen Sullivan and I will be bringing you the latest developments on the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria five days ago.

The death toll has now passed 21,000, surpassing the 20,000 the World Health Organization originally forecast when the quake first struck. The number of deaths is expected to increase in the coming days.

The rescue effort continues for a fifth day in freezing conditions. Officials and medics said Thursday that 17,674 people had died in Turkey and 3,377 in Syria, bringing the confirmed total to 21,051.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department said on Thursday it had issued a license to allow earthquake-related relief efforts otherwise prohibited by sanctions from getting through to Syria.

More on these stories shortly. In the meantime, here are the key recent developments:

  • Turkey said nearly 3,000 buildings collapsed in seven different provinces, including public hospitals. A famous 13th-century mosque partially collapsed in Maltaya province, where a 14-story building containing 28 apartments for 92 people collapsed.

  • The World Bank will provide $1.78 billion (£1.47 billion). to Turkey. Meanwhile, the US will send $85 million in aid to Turkey and Syria. $780 million in emergency assistance would be offered through conditional contingency measures from two existing projects in Turkey, the bank said. Countries like France and Germany have also sent money and support, as has Greece, which has long had a dispute with Turkey.

  • The UK is providing an additional £3 million ($3.65 million) in funding to support search and rescue and emergency relief in Syriathe Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday.

  • At least 28,044 people were evacuated from Kahramanmaraşone of southern Turkey’s provinces hardest hit by Monday’s earthquake, including 23,437 by air and 4,607 by road and rail, Turkey’s Civil Protection Agency said.

  • Rescue workers continued to pull people who had been trapped for days out of the rubbleincluding a young girl who was held captive for three days.

  • Turkey’s civil protection agency AHAD said it had recorded nearly 650 aftershocks since the two earthquakes, measuring 7.8 and 7.6 magnitudemaking rescue efforts even more difficult and dangerous as emergency teams comb through severely weakened buildings.

  • A Reuters report sheds light on how Hundreds of thousands of people made homeless by the quake are being housed in rows of tents that have been erected in stadiums and devastated city centerswhile beach resorts on the Mediterranean and Aegean open hotel rooms to evacuees outside the quake zone.

  • World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is on his way to Syria, where WHO is part of the response. The UN will deploy its aid chief Martin Griffiths to Gaziantep in Turkey and Aleppo and Damascus in Syria this weekend.

  • WHO said a total of up to 23 million people could be affected by the quake and pledged long-term relief. Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 77 national and 13 international emergency medical teams are deployed in the affected areas.

  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with Turkish Finance Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu about how the US can help Turkey and Syria. US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the US would continue to demand unhindered humanitarian access to Syria and urged Bashar al-Assad’s government to immediately allow aid through all border crossings.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *