Turkey, Syria Earthquake Deaths Exceed 11,000, Deadliest In Over A Decade

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The devastating earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey on Monday morning has become the deadliest in over a decade with more than 11,000 reported dead in Syria and Turkey.

In Turkey, the country’s death toll surpassed 8,500, according to the country’s disaster management agency. In war-torn Syria, the health ministry reported that in government-held areas the death toll had exceeded 1,200, while 1,400 were reported dead by the volunteer group White Helmets in the rebel-held corner of the country, according to Fox News. Those death tolls are expected to rise.

“Our hands cannot pick up anything because of the cold,” former journalist Ozel Pikal told The Associated Press (AP). “Work machines are needed.”

Pikal has been helping with the rescue efforts, but is quickly losing hope of finding survivors. “Today isn’t a pleasant day, because as of today, there is no hope left in Malatya,” Pikal told The AP. “No one is coming out alive from the rubble.”

One 3-year-old boy’s rescue in the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, however, gave rescuers something to cheer for. Trapped for nearly two days under the rubble of a collapsed apartment building, Arif Kaan was carefully cut out of the concrete slab that had trapped his lower body. As he was pulled free from the wrecked building, his father Ertugrul Kisi wept with relief and joy as his son was wrapped in a blanket and placed in an ambulance

“For now, the name of hope in Kahramanmaras is Arif Kaan,” a Turkish television reporter announced to the beleaguered country, according to The AP. (RELATED: Family’s Only Survivor Is Baby Who Was Born While Mother Was Trapped Under Rubble From Earthquake)

That hope is no doubt needed as many survivors find themselves without shelter in freezing temperatures. “We don’t have a tent, we don’t have a heating stove, we don’t have anything. Our children are in bad shape. We are all getting wet under the rain and our kids are out in the cold. We did not die from hunger or the earthquake, but we will die freezing from the cold,” survivor Aysan Kurt told The AP.

As the death toll continues to climb, Monday’s quake has already become the deadliest seismic event in over a decade, the last being in 2011 when a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people, Fox News reported.