05:32 (CET): Death toll rises to 16,546 in Turkey
At least 16,546 people have lost their lives in Turkey, according to figures Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Thursday evening. The number of wounded has climbed to 66,132, he added.
05:25 (CET): Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP MPs donate salaries to earthquake fund.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) launched an earthquake fund after Monday’s devastating earthquakes hit southeast Turkey and northern Syria, and HDP MP’s donated their own salaries to the cause.
05:22 (CET): Journalist Association of Turkey calls on government not to target journalism
The Journalists Association of Turkey (TGC) protested obstructions against journalists in earthquake zones and called on the authorities not to target the media. “Do not hinder journalists, do not threaten them, do not target them, do not obscure the truth,” TGC said.
After Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, earthquake victims who spoke to journalists in the earthquake area were also threatened with detention, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
03:55 (CET): Turkish Parliament passes State of Emergency
Turkish parliament votes into force a three-month State of Emergency for 10 provinces affected by Monday’s devastating twin quakes.
01:16 (CET): Turkey updates number of casualties to 14,351
The death toll from Monday’s earthquakes rose to 14,351 in Turkey, the Vice President of Turkey, Fuat Oktay, announced. The number of injured is over 60,000.
The combined death toll has passed 16,000 following Monday’s two massive earthquakes that affected southeastern Turkey and northern Syria, as rescuers worked through the third night.
Turkey announced the updated death toll as 12,873, while 3,583 people have been reported dead in Syria, after a critical 72 hours for rescue efforts.
The earthquake survivors in Turkey spent the night outside in the freezing cold in most regions of Turkey since tent aid is yet to arrive.
In regions of Turkey with mostly Kurdish or Alevi populations, some rescue teams and aid began to arrive three days after the earthquake, but in insufficient numbers. While thousands still await rescue from under the rubble, despair and anger towards the government in these regions continues to grow.
Turkey’s Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu and Adıyaman (Semsûr) Governor Mahmut Çuhadar left the earthquake region on Wednesday after citizens expressed their frustration to him in protest.
After visiting Kahramanmaraş, the epicentre of Wednesday’s earthquake, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan travelled to Hatay, one of the provinces that suffered the most and received aid the least. The traffic density at the entrance of the city due to the measures for the arrival of the President delayed the aid reaching the earthquake victims. Journalist Murat Ağırel shared the footage of the traffic starting more than 8 km away from the city centre.
Erdoğan said, during his visit to Hatay, that Turkey’s Disaster and Management Authority (AFAD) is operative in the region, and added that those who criticise the extent of support provided by the government are “dishonest, inglorious” people.
On Wednesday Turkish authorities restricted access to Twitter and other social media services, which received a great backlash nationwide, as those under the rubble had been asking for help by sharing locations using the apps on their mobile phones.
“It is cruelty to silence social media while tens of thousands are under the rubble, while hundreds of thousands are waiting for help in the freezing cold, while millions are trying to hear from their relatives,” said Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Mithat Sancar.
Turkey’s Disaster Response Authority (AFAD) announced on Thursday morning that it has completed the search and rescue operations in Şanlıurfa (Riha) and that the teams were directed to other provinces.
An aid convoy consisting of six trucks will reach northwest Syria on Thursday, Reuters reported. This will be the first humanitarian aid that has reached the region which is under the control of Turkey and the Syrian opposition.
After Syria requested provision of search and rescue teams on Wednesday some international agencies sent aid to the country, including shelter and medical support from the European Union, EU member states, and the United Nations, as well as an initial €3.5 million in emergency humanitarian assistance.
The EU also mobilised a total of 1485 rescuers and 100 dogs and announced €3 million in emergency assistance to boost response efforts in Turkey.
On Wednesday, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) said it has been in close coordination with Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to “surge support” to those affected by the earthquake.
In the meantime the Syrian opposition rejected aid offered by the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), North Press Agency reported.
Volunteers from Turkish and Kurdish communities in Germany have initiated aid campaigns for the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria, collecting money, blankets and warm clothing. The first batch of supplies, donated by crowds rushing to help from Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich, will leave for Turkey today.