Turkey earthquake now deadliest in its modern history as death toll continues to rise

The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkey alone was more than 35,000. That number, combined with those who were killed in Syria brings the total number of those who were killed to more than 39,000.

The death toll continues to rise in Turkey more than a week after a series of catastrophic earthquakes making this the deadliest such disaster in modern Turkish history, according to the Associated Press.

The AP is reporting that the death toll from the earthquakes in Turkey alone was more than 35,000.


That number now passes the number of those who were killed in the Erzincan earthquake in 1939 which killed around 33,000 people.

The new death toll in Turkey, combined with Syria’s death toll, brings the total number of people that have been killed to more than 39,000.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said more than 105,000 people were injured as a result of the earthquakes, according to the AP. Erdogan also said more than 13,000 people were being treated in hospitals across the region.

Thousands of people from around the world descended on the area after the temblors to assist rescue crews searching for those who became trapped when the thousands of buildings collapsed during the violent shaking.

And there have been miraculous stories of survival.

Syria Civil Defence released video of two girls being pulled from the rubble of their collapsed home in Jindares, Syria, last Wednesday. The video shows one of the girls being dug out from the rubble, while the end of the video shows rescuers attempting to rescue the second girl.

Crews worked for six hours to free a 12-year-old girl and her father from the rubble of a building that collapsed during the earthquake in Turkey. The Spanish volunteer nonprofit organization Intervencion Ayuda y Emergencias (IAE) said the two were about 16 feet below the surface.

"Hugs of joy" were shared following the rescue, IAE wrote on Twitter.


The weather forecast for Gaziantep, Turkey, near the epicenter.
(FOX Weather)


Unfortunately, with temperatures at night dipping below freezing and only rising into the 40s during the day, the window for pulling more victims from the rubble alive is dwindling.

Snow and rain hampered rescue efforts in the first several hours after the quake, but drier weather has since moved in.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been touring devastated regions of the country since the earthquakes struck and declared a three-month state of emergency in response. He also declared seven days of mourning to honor those lost and affected by the massive earthquakes.

Millions of people were jolted awake when the first earthquake, a magnitude 7.8, struck the region at 4:17 a.m. local time last Monday (8:17 p.m. EST last Sunday), and that was almost immediately followed by a strong 6.7 magnitude aftershock, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

Nine hours later, the region had another violent shake with a powerful 7.5 magnitude aftershock – just one of the hundreds of aftershocks of varying magnitude that continued to shake the area for days.

According to USGS data, last Monday's initial 7.8 magnitude quake had a depth of 11 miles and was likely felt as far away as Beirut in Lebanon and Cairo in Egypt.

The area where the earthquake struck is considered seismically active. However, the USGS said there had previously only been three quakes of magnitude 6 or larger within about 150 miles of the epicenter since 1970. 

The AP noted that some 18,000 people were killed during powerful earthquakes that shook northwestern Turkey in 1999.