Syria death toll exceeds 2,900, Turkey death toll tops 9,000
The death toll from the earthquake in Syria has exceeded 2,900, and that of Turkey has exceeded 9,000, with aftershocks nearing 800.
The death toll of the devastating earthquake that hit Syria has reached 2,992, Syrian officials and medics have reported, adding that search and rescue efforts were still ongoing in search of survivors.
The Syrian National Seismological Center said Wednesday evening that a new 4.3 magnitude earthquake and a depth of 30 km was recorded on the Syrian-Lebanese border, while Syrian news agency SANA reported that the earthquake was felt by the residents of Damascus, Aleppo, Latakia, and Homs.
The ambulance and emergency system responded immediately with 7 ambulances following the collapse of a residential building in Harasta, east of Damascus, the Syrian Ministry of Health said.
عمليات إزالة الأنقاض للمبنى الذي انهار في مدينة حرستا بريف دمشق قبل قليل مستمرة— محب للجميع (@aali4573) February 8, 2023
يارب الطف بهم 🇸🇾🙏 https://t.co/30RzpFyhwi pic.twitter.com/dPiOgyq6HA
Syria received more humanitarian aid on Wednesday after a Venezuelan plane arrived at the Damascus International Airport carrying relief aid for those affected by the earthquake.
Likewise, a fifth Emirati plane arrived at Damascus International Airport, carrying 10 tons of aid for those affected by the disaster.
Five planes from Algeria, Iran, and Iraq had arrived at Aleppo International Airport in the last hours, an Al Mayadeen correspondent in Aleppo had reported earlier on Wednesday.
Sanctions hampering humanitarian effort: UN
The UN Resident Coordinator in Syria, Al-Mustafa bin Al-Maleeh, said the sanctions imposed on Syria are harming the humanitarian work there, indicating that the situation was now very difficult and the needs were great due to the earthquake, and the humanitarian issue must not be politicized.
Bin Al-Maleeh said during an interview for SANA that the goal of the United Nations organizations was to convey a message about the suffering of the Syrians as a result of the sanctions imposed on their country and the harm these sanctions have had on humanitarian work, as they prevented millions of dollars from making it to Syria in the form of financial aid.
The UN coordinator underlined that Syria is suffering from a double crisis, the first due to the war that has been ongoing since 2011, and the second due to the earthquake that exacerbated the situation there. Before the earthquake, there were 15 million Syrians in need of aid, and four million of them needed aid on a daily basis.
Bin Al-Maleeh called on the relevant parties not to politicize the humanitarian issue in Syria in order to reach the affected people, stressing that the volume of needs in Syria is large.
There are currently more than 30,000 women and children in shelters, schools mosques, and churches in Aleppo alone, and these numbers might be matched if not exceeded in other governorates, he said.
Additionally, the prevailing weather conditions, the fragility of the infrastructure, the means of transportation, and the lack of fuel all hinder the work of United Nations organizations in delivering aid to the affected areas.
The Syrian government has provided all facilities to deliver aid to all affected places, stressing the need to obtain aid, Bin Al-Malih concluded.
The Syrian Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Mohammad Saif Al-Din, stressed that there was a great shortage of food, medical, and relief supplies, in addition to the fuel and equipment needed to save the victims of the devastating earthquake.
The minister explained that the shortage was the result of the economic blockade imposed on Syria, which targets the Syrian people and prevents them from their most basic necessities.
Seif El-Din called on Arab and foreign countries to "provide greater support to Syria to help save the lives of those who are still under the rubble."
9,000 dead in Turkey
Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay announced that Turkey had suffered more than 790 aftershocks since the earthquake occurred on Monday.
"The number of people killed in the earthquake has risen to 9,057, and the number of injured has reached 53,000, and the collapse of 6,444 buildings has been recorded," Aktay said.
On Monday, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine, killing thousands, mainly in Turkey and Syria, and leveling houses and other facilities, including public infrastructure.
Due to the inhumane sanctions imposed on Syria, the country is being deprived of humanitarian aid. At a time that calls for unity, Western nations turned away from Syria.
In these defining moments and amid this humanitarian catastrophe, it was expected that all political rifts and rivalries would be brought aside for a short while at least, mainly because the destructive event has directly affected civilians.
Following the earthquakes, several Western countries mobilized rapidly to send aid and rescue workers to Turkey but decided to exclude Syria and neglect it, by only offering condolences and merely expressing readiness to support the affected Syrians, with nothing done on the ground, in a clear show of double standards.
Read more: Western selective humanitarianism, Syria earthquake falls on deaf ears