Turkey’s Leader Acknowledges ‘Shortcomings’ After Earthquake Leaves Death Toll at 11,700


Turkish President Concedes “Shortcomings” in Response to Earthquake

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged “shortcomings” in his government’s response to the massive earthquake that killed over 11,700 people in Turkey and Syria. The disaster flattened thousands of buildings and left survivors scrambling for food and shelter. Despite ongoing relief efforts, the death toll continues to rise, and searchers are racing against time to find survivors.

Survivors’ Desperate Wait for Help

As criticism of the government’s response mounted, Erdogan visited one of the hardest-hit areas and admitted problems in the relief effort. However, survivors are still waiting for help, with many trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings. The window for rescuers to find survivors is narrowing, and the effort is approaching the 72-hour mark, which disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives.

Rising Death Toll

The earthquake, which registered 7.8 on the Richter scale, has claimed the lives of 9,057 people in Turkey and 2,662 in Syria. The World Health Organization has warned that time is running out for the thousands injured and still trapped. The White Helmets, a Syrian civil defense group, have appealed for international help in their “race against time” to rescue people buried under rubble in rebel-held areas of Syria.

International Aid and Sanctions

Dozens of nations, including the United States, China, and Gulf States, have pledged to help, and search teams and relief supplies have already arrived. However, a winter storm has compounded the misery by rendering many roads impassable. The European Union has dispatched rescue teams to Turkey, but it initially offered only minimal assistance to Syria due to EU sanctions imposed on the Assad government in 2011. The European Commission is “encouraging” EU member countries to respond to Syria’s request for medical supplies and food while monitoring to ensure that any aid “is not diverted” by the government.

Earthquake Zone

The Turkey-Syria border is one of the world’s most active earthquake zones, and the earthquake was the largest Turkey has seen since 1939, when 33,000 people died in the eastern Erzincan province. In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake killed more than 17,000.

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