Thousands of people who lost their homes in a devastating earthquake huddled around campfires and clamored for food and water in the bitter cold three days after the temblor and series of aftershocks struck Turkey and Syria, killing about 17162 people.
According to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at least 14,000 people have died in Turkey, while at least 3,162 have died in Syria.
He stated that over 6,400 buildings had been destroyed and that Turkey hoped to construct new three and four-story structures in the region within a year.
Rescuers raced to pull more people alive from the rubble, as the window for finding trapped survivors closed. While stories of miraculous rescues temporarily lifted spirits, the grim reality of the hardships faced by tens of thousands of survivors cast a pall.
Hundreds of people scrambled for help in front of a truck distributing children’s coats and other supplies in the Turkish city of Antakya.
The first United Nations aid trucks to enter rebel-held northwest Syria since the earthquake arrived Thursday morning. Smaller aid organisations have sent in shipments, but the United Nations is only authorised to deliver aid through one border crossing, which has been hampered by road damage.
Winter weather and quake-related damage to roads and airports have hampered response efforts across a region already dealing with the fallout from Syria’s more than decade-long civil war. This conflict displaced millions of Syrians and forced many to rely on humanitarian aid, while also driving millions more across the border into Turkey to seek refuge.