Death toll in Turkey-Syria earthquake tops 30,000 and could hit 50,000, UN warns

Number of fatalities in Syria and Turkey continues to rise, surpassing 30,000, amid fears total number of dead could top 50,000.

By World Israel News Staff

The death toll in Turkey and Syria following last week’s devastating earthquakes rose to approximately 30,000 Sunday, as hopes for the recovery of additional survivors dwindle.

While Turkish media outlets celebrated the rescue of two survivors pulled from underneath rubble over the weekend, each passing day reduces the already slim odds stacked against the potentially tens of thousands of victims still buried under debris for days without food, water, or heat.

Southern Turkey, hardest hit by the 7.8-magnitude earthquake and its aftershocks, reported that 24,921 buildings were either destroyed or severely damaged.

Thus far, over 24,600 bodies have been recovered in Turkey, with approximately 5,300 fatalities confirmed in Syria.

Over 87,000 people in Syria and Turkey were injured.

The earthquake’s toll has already outstripped that of a 7.8-magnitude quake in Nepal in 2015, when 8,800 died. A 2011 earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami, killing nearly 20,000 people.

While the death toll in last week’s earthquake also surpassed that of another quake in Turkey in 1999, becoming the worst natural disaster to impact either Syria or Turkey since 1939, the United Nations warned over the weekend that the total number of dead could rise to or surpass 50,000 – which would make it the deadliest earthquake to hit the Middle East in over a century.

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UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths told Sky News Saturday that the actual number of fatalities is most likely at least twice the confirmed death toll – then 25,000 – and could be potentially even higher.

“I think it is difficult to estimate precisely as we need to get under the rubble but I’m sure it will double or more.”

“We haven’t really begun to count the number of dead.”

“That’s terrifying. This is nature striking back in a really harsh way.”