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Death toll in Turkey, Syria earthquake passes 36,000 mark, UN says

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The death toll in the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria, has gone past 36,000, according to a United Nations official on Monday.

Aid groups also blame the rising death rate on the inability of rescue workers to reach some areas and the slow help reaching the people of Syria, with pressure mounting on global leaders to overcome the logistical and political challenges caused by the country’s civil war.

The UN also said tens of thousands of survivors have been left injured or homeless while pleading for more aid access to rebel-controlled north-western Syria, where only one crossing from Turkey is open.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the number of dead so far recorded has risen to 31,643, while in the government-controlled portion of Syria, 1,414 people have died, according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), thus bringing the total death toll to 36,217.

Read also:Turkey seeks Nigeria’s support for earthquake victims

However, the rebel-run Syrian Salvation Government’s Health Ministry has reported 3,160 deaths on the Syrian side.

Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu said in a news conference on Monday that nearly 4,500 search and rescue operations are underway, with about 400 completed.

“We have been experiencing the largest disaster in history. We are working very hard to manage it,” he said.

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