international aid is organized despite the extreme conditions

Caroline Baudry and Romain Bitot, edited by Julien Moreau with AFP

In freezing cold, rescuers race against time on Tuesday to try to rescue survivors in the aftermath of the powerful earthquake, the constantly worsening toll of which now exceeds 6,200 dead in Turkey and Syria. 23 million people are “potentially exposed, including about five million vulnerable people”, warned the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO had previously said it feared “balance sheets eight times higher than the initial numbers”.

freezing temperatures

It is a race against time that the rescuers are leading. French aid began to arrive on Tuesday, in particular rescue workers from Civil Security, but also from the GSF, the French Disaster Relief Group, a humanitarian association created by Thierry Velu. “We are at the site of the epicenter and there, we have just seen a victim who took 3 hours to get out. It is a huge relief because the temperatures are freezing. It is very cold so the days of people who are unfortunately stuck under the rubble, are currently counted. People remain at the foot of their building and they have a glimmer of hope. They want the missing people to be found,” said Thierry Velu.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency in the ten affected provinces. 45 countries offered their help. In the meantime, the inhabitants are trying to save lives, often with their bare hands by removing stone by stone, sometimes using iron bars, the debris covering the bodies of the victims and their cries for help. “I was stuck for nine or ten hours under the rubble. I was told that a lot of rubble had fallen on me. Someone tried to free me from above and I was pushing from below. He “first saved my wife, then he came back to get me. God help all these people here. We were with them below. Some are still there, it’s terrible, people are suffering,” said reported an earthquake survivor in Antioch.

At the level of the epicenter, help is missing

In the region where the epicenter of the earthquake is located, help never arrived. “Look at our situation here. Where is the state? Where are they? But I can’t bring my brother back from the ruins. I can’t bring my nephew back. Look around, there is no representative of the state. For two days we haven’t seen the state around here. They haven’t brought a single brick, not a single one. The children are frozen from the cold,” said Ali who lost his relatives and implored the help of the Turkish authorities. The hospitals are saturated, the wounded are sometimes treated in the middle of the street. In the chaos, the survivors shiver. In some cities, they are welcomed in gymnasiums, colleges or mosques. But many prefer to sleep outside for fear of further collapses.

Source: Europe1

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