Turkey-Syria death toll passes 41,000 as UN appeals for quake aid

The United Nations made a $1 billion appeal on Friday as the dead toll from the earthquake that has ravaged areas of Turkey and Syria reached 41,000.

A 17-year-old girl and a lady in her 20s were rescued from the wreckage by Turkish rescuers eleven days after the earthquake, which is now one of the ten deadliest in the past 100 years.

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“She looked to be in good health. She opened and closed her eyes,” coal miner Ali Akdogan said after participating in the rescue of Aleyna Olmez in Kahramanmaras, a city near the quake’s epicentre.

But the likelihood of discovering survivors has virtually diminished.

Many people in the impacted areas are in a desperate situation as they attempt to pick up the pieces in frigid weather, without access to food, water, or toilets—raising the possibility of a double calamity brought on by diseases.

“The needs are enormous, people are suffering and there’s no time to lose,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a statement, calling for funds to help the victims.

He said that 5.2 million individuals would receive humanitarian supplies for three months thanks to the contributions.

Included in the areas of food security, protection, education, water, and shelter, the money would “enable relief organizations to rapidly scale up crucial support,” he continued.

“I urge the international community to step up and fully fund this critical effort in response to one of the biggest natural disasters of our times.”

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