Deaths soar above 4,4,00 from powerful quakes in Turkey and Syria

Turkey reported nearly 3,000 deaths, with more than 1,500 in Syria on Monday as at least 17 earthquakes hit the region in 24 hours. The first measured a 7.8 magnitude. Turkey’s quake epicenter was located between the eastern towns of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep; In Syria, Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Targus, where Russia maintains a naval base, took the brunt of the tremors.

Global aid has been promised by dozens of countries, as rescuers dig for survivors in freezing temperatures under 5,600 collapsed buildings. Aid efforts are severely hampered by snow blizzards and icebound roads, with the toll of death and injured steadily rising. Syria’s victims also lack the most basic facilities which are still in disrepair after years of civil war.

Monday night, the first members of an 150-man emergency relief team from Israel’s Homefront Command flew into Turkey disaster areas to prepare the ground for equipment, tents, humanitarian aid and a field hospital.

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