Thousands killed by powerful quake in Turkey, Syria; death toll still rising

ANKARA, Turkey — Crews continue to search through rubble after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, leveling buildings and leaving thousands of people dead or injured.

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Death toll tops 15,000 in Turkey, Syria

Update 12:06 a.m. EST Feb. 9: The death toll from Monday’s catastrophic earthquake continued to rise late Wednesday, with more than 15,000 people now confirmed dead, The New York Times reported.

The number of deaths in Turkey has reached at least 12,391, according to the Andalou News Agency. Another 62,914 have been injured.

Syria has reported at least 2,992 deaths, according to CNN.

-- Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group

US military supporting earthquake relief efforts

Update 1:40 p.m. EST Feb. 8: The Department of Defense transported a pair of civilian urban search and rescue teams from the U.S. to Turkey to aid in the response to Monday’s deadly earthquake, Pentagon press secretary Big. Gen. Pat Ryder said Wednesday.

The teams arrived in Turkey on Wednesday and were expected to “soon begin aiding the relief efforts there,” Ryder said.

“In coordination with USAID, (the) State Department and the inner agency, the Department of Defense has responded to the government of Turkiye’s request for earthquake relief support and will continue to provide support as requested by the Turkish government,” he said.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll tops 9,000 in Turkey, 2,600 in Syria

Update 10:55 a.m. EST Feb. 8: The death toll continues to rise in Turkey and Syria following Monday’s devastating earthquake.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters that 9,057 people have been confirmed dead in the country, according to Reuters. Government officials and volunteers with a rescue group have said that 2,662 people have died in Syria, The Guardian reported.

The numbers raise the death toll to 11,719 as search efforts continue.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Turkish officials fight blaze at port

Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 8: Crews in Turkey are continuing to fight a fire that broke out at the Iskenderun port in the southern part of the country, according to officials.

On Wednesday, Turkish officials said the fire was under control, though the port remained shut down until further notice, Reuters reported. The blaze broke out in containers at the terminal, according to CNN. Its exact cause was not immediately known.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Nearly 300,000 displaced in Syria

Update 8:50 a.m. EST Feb. 8: Monday’s earthquake forced more than 298,000 people out of their homes in Syria, Reuters reported Wednesday, citing Syrian state media.

The numbers appear to only include people in areas controlled by the government, according to Reuters.

More than 1,200 people have died in government-controlled parts of Syria while at least 1,400 have died in the opposition-held northwest, The Associated Press reported, citing the Syrian Health Ministry and volunteer first responders the White Helmets. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the death toll in the country was up to 8,754 on Wednesday, according to The Guardian.

In total, more than 11,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria due to the temblor.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll reaches 10,000 in deadly quake

Update 6 a.m. EST Feb. 8: The death toll in Monday’s earthquake has risen to 10,000, according to officials in Turkey and Syria, making it the world’s deadliest earthquake disaster in more than a decade.

A 9.0-magnitude quake off the east coast of Japan killed more than 18,000 people in 2011. That quake triggered a 23-foot tsunami.

According to a statement from Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, nearly 100,000 people are helping in areas damaged by the earthquake.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group

US search and rescue teams heading for Turkey

Update 3:10 p.m. EST Feb. 7: The U.S. Agency for International Development is sending two teams to Turkey on Wednesday to assist in urban search and rescue efforts, The Guardian and CNN reported.

The teams, from Fairfax County, Virginia, and Los Angeles County, were traveling to Turkey on Tuesday on U.S. military cargo planes, according to The Associated Press. Each team includes about 80 people, rescue dogs and about 170,000 pounds of specialized tools and equipment, CNN reported. They were expected to immediately deploy to the affected areas after arriving in southern Turkey.

“They really do work 24/7,” said Stephen Allen, USAID’s disaster assistance response team leader for the earthquake response, according to The Guardian. “They work in shifts, they go around the clock because every hour does count in the first few days.”

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll tops 7,200

Update 2 p.m. EST Feb. 7: Officials said the number of people killed in Monday’s earthquake jumped above 7,200 on Tuesday as authorities continue search and rescue efforts.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the death toll in the country sat at 5,434 on Tuesday, according to CNN. He added that over 31,700 have been injured.

In Syria, the earthquake was felt in areas controlled by the government and the last opposition-held enclave in the country, The Associated Press reported. At least 1,449 people died in government-held areas while 2,400 died in opposition-controlled space, according to CNN.

The death toll is expected to rise as searches continue.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Over 5,700 homes destroyed in Turkey

Update 1:20 p.m. EST Feb. 7: Officials with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency on Tuesday said that at least 5,775 buildings collapsed in the country after an earthquake shook the region on Monday, according to CNN.

Orhan Tatar, the agency’s general director, said more than 60,000 personnel were assisting with rescue operations in 10 provinces affected by the temblor, the news network reported.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

More than 6,200 killed in Turkey, Syria

Update 12:20 p.m. EST Feb. 7: The death toll from Monday’s quake soared past 6,200 on Tuesday as efforts to find survivors continue in Turkey and Syria, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities said 4,544 people have died in Turkey and 1,712 in Syria, according to the AP. The numbers put the total death toll at 6,256.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Newborn rescued from rubble in Syria, mother found dead

Update 12:05 p.m. EST Feb. 7: A woman in Syria appears to have given birth to a baby girl while buried under the rubble of a five-story apartment building, The Associated Press reported, citing relatives and a doctor.

Rescuers found the girl on Monday afternoon with her umbilical cord still connected to her mother, Afraa Abu Hadiya, according to the AP. Hadiya and the rest of the girl’s family had died, a relative told the AP.

The girl was rushed to a hospital, where she has been kept in an incubator. Her body temperature had dropped, suggesting that she was born about three hours before she was found, and she had bruises, but her doctor told the AP that she was in stable condition on Tuesday.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll tops 5,400 in Turkey, Syria

Update 11:45 a.m. EST Feb. 7: More than 5,400 people have died in Turkey in Syria as a result of Monday’s devastating quake, according to CNN.

Citing state news agency SANA, CNN reported that 1,712 people were killed in Syria. The death toll in Turkey stood at 3,703 as of Monday night local time, according to the news network.

More than 8,000 people have been pulled from rubble in Turkey, The Guardian reported.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

How to help victims of the earthquake

Update 10:15 a.m. EST Feb. 7: Several organizations are responding to Turkey and Syria to help those impacted by Monday’s strong earthquake.

UNICEF is on the ground in both countries, where thousands of homes have been destroyed amid ongoing frigid temperatures.

“This is the most powerful earthquake to hit the region in almost 100 years and came at the worst possible time for vulnerable children and families in the affected areas,” UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said Tuesday at a news briefing.

In Syria, the group is focused on ensuring children and families have access to safe drinking water, coordinating medical and other supplies and getting children back into school as soon as possible, according to the organization. In Turkey, UNICEF is coordinating with the government and other officials on search and rescue efforts and supplies.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

8,000 rescued from rubble in Turkey, Erdogan says

Update 8:45 a.m. EST Feb. 7: About 8,000 people have so far been rescued in Turkey after a devastating earthquake struck the country early on Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, according to CNN.

Freezing temperatures, damaged roads and fuel shortages have hampered efforts to search for survivors, The Guardian and Reuters reported.

“The infrastructure is damaged, the roads that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how to get to the people ... but we are working hard,” United Nations resident coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told Reuters.

It was unclear Tuesday how many people remained trapped.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Erdogan declares 3-month state of emergency in 10 provinces

Update 8:30 a.m. EST Feb. 7: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces recovering from Monday morning’s earthquake.

The state of emergency is set to last three months. It will facilitate management of the emergency response, The Associated Press reported.

“We are declaring our 10 provinces where the earthquake occurred as disaster areas,” Erdogan said in a televised speech Tuesday, according to CNN. “We have decided to declare a state of emergency based on the authority given to us by the 119th article of the constitution in order to ensure that the search and rescue activities and subsequent studies can be carried out quickly.”

He said the death toll in Turkey had risen to 3,549, The Guardian reported. In Syria, 1,602 people have died, according to the newspaper.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll rises to more than 5,000

Updated at 5 a.m. EST Feb. 7: Rescuers fighting frigid cold continue to search for survivors in collapsed buildings as the death toll in Monday’s earthquake grows.

Officials of the governments of Turkey and Syria say that as of Tuesday morning, more than 5,000 people are confirmed dead, according to The Associated Press.

Tremors of the earthquake were felt more than 100 miles in each direction from the epicenter, the BBC reported.

.— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group

Over 100 aftershocks reported in Turkey so far

Update 10:42 p.m. EST Feb. 6: The United States Geological Survey reported that at least 100 aftershocks of about 4.0 magnitude have occurred in Turkey since the 7.8 magnitude earthquake early Monday morning, according to CNN.

The aftershocks stretched about 186 miles along the fault zone that ruptured in Turkey and stretched from the border with Syria, according to CNN.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group

Death toll rises to over 4,000 in Turkey, Syria

Update 9:10 p.m. EST Feb. 6: The death toll in Turkey and Syria following the earthquake has risen to over 4,000, according to The Associated Press.

Thousands of people were left homeless during the cold weather.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is sending about 78 members to assist the search and rescue teams in Turkey, according to CNN.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group

Death toll increases to 3,452

Update 4:55 p.m. EST Feb. 6: The death toll in Turkey and Syria has risen to at least 3,452 people after a 7.8 earthquake early Monday, according to CNN.

The total death toll in Turkey is 2,316, Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Agency.

The total number of people injured in Turkey and Syria has reportedly climbed to 15,762 Monday, according to CNN.

— Jessica Goodman, Cox Media Group

Death toll rises as search efforts continue

Update 2:25 p.m. EST Feb. 6: The number of people killed when an earthquake rocked parts of Turkey and Syria on Monday has topped 2,600 as efforts to find survivors and victims continue, according to The Guardian and The Associated Press.

At least 1,651 people died across 10 provinces in Turkey while 968 others died in government-held parts of Syria, The Guardian reported.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

More than 2,500 killed in earthquake

Update 1:10 p.m. EST Feb. 6: The death toll from Monday’s devastating earthquake has risen over 2,500, according to The Associated Press.

As search and rescue efforts continue in Turkey and Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared seven days of mourning across the country. During the mourning period, flags will be flown at half-mast nationwide and abroad.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Biden authorizes ‘an immediate US response’ to earthquake

Update 11:15 a.m. EST Feb. 6: President Joe Biden said he has “authorized an immediate U.S. response” to a destructive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives in Turkey and Syria.

In a statement, Biden said his administration has been working closely with Turkish officials.

“At my direction, senior American officials reached out immediately to their Turkish counterparts to coordinate any and all needed assistance,” he said. “Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake. U.S.-supported humanitarian partners are also responding to the destruction in Syria. Today, our hearts and our deepest condolences are with all those who have lost precious loved ones, those who are injured, and those who saw their homes and businesses destroyed.”

Reports indicate that more than 2,300 people died and thousands more were injured after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Turkey and Syria on Monday.

— Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group

Death toll tops 2,300

Update 9:37 a.m. EST Feb. 6: More than 2,300 people have died in the massive quake that shook Turkey and Syria, the AP reported. Thousands were injured in the quake.

An international effort is being sent to the region to help excavate the rubble.

Britain is sending 76 search-and-rescue specialists along with an emergency medical team, equipment and dogs later Monday. They will be bringing seismic listening devices, concrete cutting tools and propping and shoring tools, the AP reported.

U.K officials are also working with the United Nations in trying to get help for people in Syria.

The United Arab Emirates is setting up a field hospital in Turkey. Qatar is sending rescue crews and emergency supplies.

The European Union, with help from Romania, Spain and Poland, is sending medical crews, dogs and specialized equipment.

Russia is sending help directly to Syria, which is one of Russia’s allies, the AP reported.

— Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group

More than 1,900 killed in quake

Update 9:22 a.m. EST Feb. 6: The death toll has increased to more than 1,900 people, the AP reported.

“Because the debris removal efforts are continuing in many buildings in the earthquake zone, we do not know how high the number of dead and injured will rise,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Hopefully, we will leave these disastrous days behind us in unity and solidarity as a country and a nation.”

In Adana, several buildings came down, trapping people under the rubble.

“I don’t have the strength anymore,” one survivor was saying as rescue crews tried to dig him out of the rubble, the AP reported.

— Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group

Biden says officials with ‘provide any and all needed assistance’ after earthquake

Update 8:10 a.m. EST Feb. 6: President Joe Biden has posted a statement on Twitter saying that he’s “deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by the earthquake. He said his team is monitoring the situation and coordinating with Turkey to provide assistance. He used Turkiye in the tweet after Turkey renamed itself The Republic of Türkiye last May, according to the United Nations.

The death toll has increased to more than 1,500 and hundreds of people are still trapped under the rubble, the AP reported.

— Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group

More than 1,300 killed, thousands injured in earthquake

Update 6:15 a.m. EST Feb. 6: More than 1,300 people were killed and thousands injured Monday in the aftermath of the strongest quake to hit the region since 1999, according to emergency officials in Turkey and Syria.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that at least 912 people were killed in his country, with 5,383 injured. Erdogan said 2,818 buildings had collapsed.

More than 326 people had been killed and 1,042 injured in Syria, according to the country’s health minister. In the Syrian rebel-held northwest, rescuers said 147 people had died, Reuters reported.

— Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group

Original story: A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has hit Turkey and Syria. Multiple buildings have been knocked down in the aftermath.

At least 76 deaths have been reported in Turkey with at least 440 people injured from the quake, according to The Associated Press. At least 62 people were reported dead in Syria, bringing the total to at least 138 killed.

Syria’s Assistant Health Minister Ahmad Dumeira said that 42 people were killed in “government-held areas” and at least 20 others were killed in “rebel-held” areas, the AP reported.

Gov. Hulusi Sahin reported that at least 130 buildings collapsed in Malatya, Turkey, according to the AP.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter that “search and rescue teams were immediately dispatched” to areas that were impacted by the earthquake, according to the AP.

“We hope that we will get through this disaster together as soon as possible and with the least damage,” Erdogan said, according to the AP.

At least six aftershocks have hit the area.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu urged residents not to enter buildings that had been damaged.

“Our priority is to bring out people trapped under ruined buildings and to transfer them to hospitals,” Soylu said.

The earthquake was centered about 20 miles from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital in southern Turkey.

Civil defense in Syria has urged residents to evacuate buildings and to gather in open areas in the wake of the earthquake. According to the AP, entire buildings have collapsed and some people are trapped under the rubble of those buildings.

The earthquake was about 11 miles deep, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake hit the area as the Middle East has been going through a snowstorm that is expected to last a few more days, the AP reported.

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