The death toll of Syrians in the 6 February earthquake has passed 10,000, including 5,951 people who lost their lives across Syria and 4,267 in Turkey, according to latest updates.
The twin earthquakes last month struck 10 provinces in southern Turkey, home to a significant number of Syrian refugees, and also affected Syria, particularly the northwest, causing many buildings already weakened by the 12-year civil war to collapse.
Turkey’s Interior Minister on Sunday announced updated figures, putting the total death toll in the country as 45,968, including 4,267 Syrians.
The death toll in Syria includes 1,414 people who died in areas under the control of the Damascus government and 4,537 victims who were living in areas controlled by Turkish-backed rebels.
The bodies of 1,500 people, the latest batch of Syrian victims, has now been transported from Turkey to Syria through the Bab al-Hawa border crossing, the North Press Agency reported on Sunday.
According to latest figures, around 3.3 million people have left the earthquake-affected zone and moved to other parts of Turkey. The number of Syrians who have left the 10 provinces in Turkey to find shelter in other parts of Turkey is unknown, but Syrians who move elsewhere have to return to their registered addresses within 90 days.
Around 42,000 Syrians have left Turkey and returned to Syria since the earthquake, Turkey’s defence minister said last week.
Many Syrians left the country to bury their loved ones in their homeland, while some fled to escape from the chaotic situation in Turkey.
Meanwhile, winterisation, shelter items, medical supplies, water, sanitation, food, cash, and psycho-social support are among the priority needs identified, and over 100,000 households have been displaced across the affected areas in Syria, according to a report produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in collaboration with humanitarian partners and covering the period from 19-28 February 2023.
The only United Nations – authorised border crossing into Syria from Turkey was closed for four days following the earthquake, and it was only after a week that the UN reached an agreement with Damascus to open two more crossing points. As the focus shifts from rescue to recovery in both countries, concerns have been raised about the impact of sanctions imposed on Syria on aid efforts.