Death Toll Soars from Quake
EARTHQUAKE IN TURKEY, SYRIA IS DEADLIEST IN MORE THAN A DECADE, AS DEATHS PASS 21,000: The earthquake in Turkey and Syria has killed more than 21,000 people, making it the deadliest seismic event in more than a decade.
Turkey’s disaster management agency said the country’s death toll passed 8,500. The Syrian Health Ministry said the death toll in government-held areas has climbed past 1,200, while at least 1,400 people have died in the rebel-held northwest, according to volunteer first responders known as the White Helmets. More than 30,000 people have been injured from the Monday morning 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and the death toll is expected to continue to rise as rescue workers search for survivors underneath the rubble. The quake is the world’s deadliest seismic event since 2011, when a 9.0 magnitude quake off the northeast coast of Japan triggered a tsunami, killing nearly 20,000 people. Neither Turkey nor Syria provided figures for the number of people still missing Wednesday, February 8, as Pope Francis asked during his weekly general audience for prayers and demonstrations of solidarity. The quake toppled thousands of buildings, and frigid temperatures and ongoing aftershocks have complicated rescue efforts. Search teams from more than two dozen countries have been sent to help Turkey’s emergency personnel, and the country has received numerous promises of aid. (FN / VFI News)
ASSAD BOMBS EARTHQUAKE-HIT REBEL-HELD AREA, AS RESCUERS TRY TO SAVE SYRIAN CIVILIANS: The Syrian government bombed an opposition-held area of the country in the immediate aftermath of Monday’s catastrophic earthquake, the UK has said.
MP Alicia Kearns, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned President Bashar al-Assad for launching a ‘truly callous and heinous attack’ on the town of Marea, found in Syria’s north-west that was struck by the earthquake. Marea sits around 70 miles south of the Turkish town of Pazarcik, which is close to the epicenter of Monday’s 7.8-magnitude quake. Responding to the MP’s statement, UK Foreign Secretary slammed the Assad regime for the ‘completely unacceptable bombing.’ ‘Sadly it speaks to a long-standing pattern of behavior by the Assad regime, a regime that we condemn, have sanctioned and will continue to bring about sanctions — working with our international friends and partners — to try to prevent behavior like this occurring again,’ he said. The statements came after the White Helmets organization had issued a plea to diplomats, calling on them to pressure Damascus to ensure that there is no bombing in the areas affected by the quake. The Syrian Red Crescent, meanwhile, appealed to Western countries to lift sanctions and provide aid as Assad’s government remains a pariah in the West, complicating international cross-border relief efforts. (DM / VFI News)
ALREADY DEVASTATED BY EARTHQUAKE, TURKEY FACES INCREASED THREAT OF TERRORISM: As Turkey deals with the consequences of the deadly earthquakes that struck the region on Monday, February 6, another potential hazard looms over the country: the security threat posed by the earthquake’s effect on the Turkish-Syrian border.
“The whole focus of Turkey and its allies is on how to respond to the devastating earthquake and its consequences,” Dr. Hamoon Khelghat-Doost, professor of political science at the University of Lincoln, UK, and Üsküdar University, Istanbul said in an interview. Turkey’s singular focus on responding to the earthquake could create favorable circumstances for terrorist organizations attempting to penetrate the border. “All the Turkish state’s capacities are mobilized to address the earthquake-related issues. This is not a moment to be missed by extremist organizations,” Khelghat-Doost said. “Any event, including natural disasters, that can divert the attention of a nation to a topic other than securing its borders is very much welcomed by extremist organizations such as ISIS.” Khelghat-Doost noted that the Islamic State (IS) group similarly used the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to reorganize and amass power. (JPost / VFI News)
IDF SENDING 230-PERSON FIELD HOSPITAL TO TURKEY, EXPANDING ISRAELI AID: The IDF announced late Tuesday night that on Wednesday, February 8, it will be sending 230 medical professionals to Turkey to establish a field hospital.
The new delegation will complement the 150-soldier delegation sent late Monday night-early Tuesday morning to assist with search and rescue efforts. The new medical delegation will be led by IDF Col. Elad Edri and will include a mix of doctors, nurses and paramedics, including some from the Health Ministry. A statement indicated that all members of the delegation would receive the appropriate vaccinations for avoiding transmitting diseases globally. (JPost / VFI News)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff