The death toll from the earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday reached 16,000 as of Thursday morning, officials said, with another 70,000 people injured in the tremors.
Of those, some 12,973 were killed in Turkey alone, with more than 3,000 killed in Syria. More than 13 million people were affected by the earthquakes in an area spanning 10 provinces in Turkey.
In 1999, close to 18,000 people were killed in earthquakes that struck northwestern Turkey.
In Syria, 10.9 million people across five northwestern governorates were affected by the earthquakes, according to El-Mostafa Benlamlih, the United Nations resident coordinator for Syria. Some 100,000 people in Aleppo alone were left homeless, and although 30,000 found shelter in schools and mosques, another 70,000 “have snow, they have cold and they are living in a terrible situation,” he told USA Today.
Fresh snowfall in the area has further exacerbated the difficulty faced by rescuers.
Turkish Airlines evacuated 19,050 people from the stricken region on Tuesday and planned to evacuate another 30,000 disaster victims on Wednesday.