Death toll from Turkey quake tops 28,000, UN says death toll set to double or more

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said the death toll from the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria would “double or more” from the current level of 28,000.

Griffiths arrived on Saturday in the southern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the first predawn 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday that turned millions of lives upside down.

“I think it’s hard to get an accurate estimate because we need to get under the rubble, but I believe the death toll could have doubled or more,” he said of the death toll in an interview with Sky News on Saturday.

“We haven’t really started counting the deaths,” he said.

Officials and medical staff said 24,617 people had died in Turkey and 3,574 in Syria. The total confirmed so far is 28,191.

Tens of thousands of rescue workers were scouring flattened neighborhoods, even as freezing weather deepened the misery of millions of people in dire need of aid.

At least 870,000 people in Turkey and Syria are in dire need of hot meals, the United Nations has warned. As many as 5.3 million people are homeless in Syria alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday that nearly 26 million people had been affected by the quake and made an urgent appeal for $42.8 million to address immediate health needs.

More than 32,000 people from Turkish organizations are working in the search and rescue effort, Turkey’s disaster agency said. There are also 8,294 international aid workers.

“Soon, search and rescue personnel will make way for humanitarian agencies whose job it is to care for the large number of affected people over the next few months,” Griffith said in a video posted on Twitter.

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from syndicated feeds.)

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