At least 2,300 people have been killed in the twin earthquakes that occurred along the Turkey and Syria border in the early hours of Monday.
Al Jazeera reported Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay as saying that the death toll in Turkey has risen to at least 1,541, leaving 9,733 others injured and 3,471 buildings destroyed.
The death toll in neighbouring Syria has risen to 810.
It added that at least 10 cities in the southeastern part of Turkey have been affected by the earthquake. Schools across Turkey will be closed until 13 February, the Ministry of National Education said.
“His Holiness Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the huge loss of life caused by the earthquake. … He sends the assurance of his spiritual closeness to all those affected,” Al Jazeera quoted Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, as saying in a statement.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres in a statement said, “My heart goes out to the people of Türkiye and Syria in this hour of tragedy” adding that “the United Nations is fully committed to supporting the response. Our teams are on the ground assessing the needs and providing assistance.”
He urged the international community to help the many thousands caught up in the disaster.
In a statement by his spokesperson, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari “extends heartfelt commiserations to the governments and people of Turkey and Syria, and those who lost family and friends in the devastating earthquake in the southern Turkish city of Gaziantep.”
He further wished the injured a speedy recovery and assured the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the many affected by this severe disaster and its aftershocks.
“Nigeria is ready to offer its full support in any way possible,” he said.
The US has authorised an immediate deployment to Turkey, a White House release said.
“Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake,” Al Jazeera quoted President Joe Biden as saying.
Other heads of state including Russia, Israel, the UK, China, and Greece amongst others have condoled Turkey and Syria while expressing willingness to provide support.
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