Heart-breaking photos show a father holding the hand of his teenage daughter killed in the quake
From CNN's Sarah Tilotta and Christian Edwards
Images of a father holding the hand of his dead daughter, crushed under layers of rubble, have emerged from the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras.
AFP photographer Adem Altan captured a series of pictures on Tuesday that show Mesut Hancer sitting amid a destroyed building as he clutches the hand of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak, who was killed in the quake.
Rescuers continue to search for survivors in the ruins of flattened buildings – amid severe weather conditions that are expected to worsen in the coming days.
7:57 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
UN aid to Syria temporarily halted due to earthquake aftermath
From CNN's Chris Liakos
The UN’s cross-border aid into Syria has been temporarily disrupted following the damage caused by Monday’s powerful earthquake, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) told CNN Tuesday.
The UN’s aid assistance has been “temporarily disrupted due to road challenges – particularly the road from Gaziantep to our Transshipment Hub in Hatay," said Madevi Sun-Suon, OCHA spokesperson.
“We are exploring all avenues to reach people in need and conducting assessments on feasibility. We do have aid but this road issue is a big challenge as of now,” the spokesperson added.
Around 4.1 million people rely on humanitarian assistance in the region of northwest Syria rocked by the quake, the majority of whom are women and children, according to an OCHA statement on Monday.
CNN's Hira Humayun contributed reporting.
7:48 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
Erdogan declares state of emergency for three months in 10 provinces
From CNN's Hande Atay Alam
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces for three months, as the country reels from a powerful earthquake Monday that killed over 5,000 people across Turkey and Syria.
"We are declaring our 10 provinces where the earthquake occurred as disaster areas. We have decided to declare a state of emergency based on the authority given to us by the 119th article of the constitution in order to ensure that the search and rescue activities and subsequent studies can be carried out quickly," Erdogan said during a televised speech Tuesday.
"With this decision, we will quickly complete the presidential and parliamentary processes."
7:01 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
Having already survived a brutal civil war, this earthquake is "a crisis in a crisis" for Syrians
From CNN's Dalya Al Masri and Celine Alkhaldi
For many of the Syrian victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, this is just the latest in a decade-long series of tragedies.
The magnitude 7.8 quake struck in the early hours, killing more than 5,000 people in the two countries and leaving thousands more injured. It was the strongest earthquake recorded in Turkey in 84 years.
In Syria, most of the casualties were in the northwest of the country, predominantly in the cities of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus, according to the state news agency, SANA.
This region was already struggling to rebuild vital infrastructure heavily damaged by continual aerial bombardment during the country’s civil war, which the United Nations estimates to have claimed 300,000 lives since 2011.
It’s a “crisis in the crisis,” El-Mostafa Benlamlih, UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Syria, told CNN’s Christina Macfarlane on Monday.
The infrastructure has been crippled by the situation, the war and so on,” he said.
Those cities are ghost cities… Many people are very scared. They don’t want to go back to their houses. If we can call them houses in these cases. They are ruins sometimes.”
Cold, wintry weather is making rescue efforts more difficult, and it's about to get worse
From CNN's Christian Edwards
Extreme cold is hampering the efforts to rescue those trapped in the rubble in Turkey and Syria, and are endangering the thousands of people whose homes were damaged by Monday's earthquake.
“Thousands of homes have been destroyed, displacing families and exposing them to the elements at a time of year when temperatures regularly drop below freezing and snow and freezing rain are common,” said UNICEF spokesperson James Elder at a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.
“Displaced families in northwest Syria, and Syrian refugee families living in Turkey in informal settlements are among the most vulnerable as overnight temperatures continue to dip below zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit),” he said.
Photos taken in earthquake-hit cities in southeastern Turkey show families huddling around fires to keep warm.
Eyewitnesses in northwest Syria told CNN the conditions there are “terrifying” with the quake leaving “entire families dead” and “survivors sleeping on the streets in the freezing cold.”
Temperatures are already low, and by Wednesday they are expected to plummet several degrees below zero.
An area of low pressure currently hangs over Turkey and Syria. As that moves off, this will bring “significantly colder air” down from central Turkey, according to CNN’s senior meteorologist Britley Ritz.
It is forecast to be -4 degrees Celsius in Gaziantep and -2 degrees in Aleppo on Wednesday morning. On Thursday, this is forecast to fall further, to -6 degrees in Gaziantep and -4 degrees in Aleppo.
Weather warnings are in place across the provinces of Adana and Kahramanmaras for winds of 50 to 75 kph (30 to 45 mph).
The conditions have already made it challenging for aid teams to reach the affected area, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said, adding that helicopters were unable to take off on Monday due to the poor weather.
It is a race to get people out from under the rubble while they are still alive,” said CNN's Nick Paton Walsh, reporting live from Turkey on Tuesday.
6:17 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu found alive following Turkey earthquake
From CNN's Nimi Princewill and Chris Liakos
International footballer Christian Atsu has been rescued from the aftermath of the powerful earthquake which struck southern Turkey on Monday.
“We've received some positive news that Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued from the rubble of the collapsed building and is receiving treatment. Let’s continue to pray for Christian,” the Ghana Football Association tweeted Tuesday.
AFP reported Tuesday that Atsu – who is currently playing for Turkish team Hatayspor – had been found in the southern province ofHatay, citing an interview that Ghana's ambassador to Turkey, Francisca Ashietey-Odunton, gave to radio station based in Accra.
Atsu was not immediately accounted for amid search and rescue efforts after the earthquake.
The player's former club, Premier League side Everton, said it is "relieved" to hear of his rescue.
“We are relieved to hear Christian Atsu has been successfully rescued and is recovering in hospital. Our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria," Everton said on its official Facebook page.
6:00 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
WHO says up to 23 million people could be affected by earthquake
From CNN's Alex Stambaugh
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that nearly 23 million people could be impacted by the powerful earthquake that struck southern Turkey early Monday, which has left over 5,000 people dead and thousands more injured.
"Event overview maps show that potentially 23 million people are exposed, including around 5 million vulnerable populations, including more than 350,000 older people, 1.4 million children," WHO senior emergencies officer Adelheid Marschang told the UN health agency's executive board meeting in Geneva.
The head of the WHO expressed his concern at the situation, calling it a "race against time."
"We're especially concerned about areas where we do not yet have information," Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "Damage mapping is one way to understand where we need to focus our attention."
Footage of rescue efforts across both countries emerged Monday, with family members mourning the loss of loved ones while others celebrated as survivors were found in the rubble of fallen buildings.
5:33 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
Head of Syria’s Red Crescent ready to send aid to rebel-held areas
From CNN’s Mostafa Salem
The head of Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) said that the organization is ready to “immediately” send aid convoys to rebel-held areas, including Idlib, through the United Nations, as international leaders struggle to send aid to quake-stricken parts of northwest Syria amid ongoing conflict and political crisis.
SARC describes itself as an independent organization. The group operates primarily across government-held territories and is based in the capital Damascus.
“We are ready to send an aid convoy through the cross-line into Idlib if they open the roads for us,” SARC President Khaled Hboubati told a news conference.
“The death toll will increase … until right now there are buildings collapsing in Aleppo and Latakia,” Hboubati said.
Hboubati added that the organization does not have enough capabilities to fully deal with the devastation.
“We were in every location after the earthquake, but we do not have the equipment, we do not have heavy machinery,” Hboubati said.
The official called for the lifting of international economic sanctions which are affecting the aid operation.
The powerful earthquake Monday has left over 5,000 people dead and injured thousands more people across Turkey and Syria.
Dr. Bachir Tajaldin, Turkey country director at the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), told CNN earlier that sending relief to Syria will be challenging because there "is no central government to take care of the multi-sectorial response."
5:19 a.m. ET, February 7, 2023
Quake death toll surpasses 5,000 in Turkey and Syria
From CNN's Mostafa Salem and Isil Sariyuce
At least 5,034 deaths have now been confirmed in Turkey and Syria after a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked the region early on Monday.
Turkey's death toll rose to at least 3,432, Turkey's Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM) said Tuesday.
The deaths were reported in the provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana, Adıyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis and Malatya, AKOM said.
At least 21,103 people have been reported injured, AKOM added. Almost 26,000 search and rescue personnel have been involved in operations, along with 360 vehicles and 3,361 pieces of equipment, including more than 600 cranes, it said.
Additionally, 2,769 personnel from 65 countries have been deployed to the disaster area, according to AKOM.
In Syria, the death toll has risen to at 1,602 across government-controlled areas and opposition-controlled areas, officials said.
At least 3,649 people have been reported injured across the country, according to officials.
This post has been updated with the latest figures.