Little aid has reached Turkey-Syria a week after devastating earthquakes

Two men walk along destroyed houses. In the small village, almost all the houses have collapsed or are badly damaged, and many people have died. A week after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, the number of dead continues to rise. Credit: Boris Roessler/DPA/Picture Alliance via Reuters Connect.

The United Nations is predicting the death toll in Turkey and Syria will continue to rise in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region last week. More than 36,000 people have died so far. The window to find more survivors is closing, as those trapped have likely gone a week without food or water, and endured days of freezing temperatures. KCRW gets an update on relief efforts.

“The destruction is just so widespread, over hundreds of miles of territory in Turkey. And at least in the initial days after the quake, rescue crews were really not able to fan out across this enormous area. So a lot of buildings were left unattended, there's quite a lot of anger about that,” explains Kareem Fahim, Istanbul bureau chief at Washington Post. “And in Syria … there was no robust international rescue effort mounted in the way that we saw … later in the week in Turkey.”

Avril Benoît, executive director of Doctors Without Borders, says, “There's … not only a shortage of food, but you have a shortage of … the emergency shelter, more medicines, medical equipment, relief items. They need everything. And that's a big concern when you have so few access routes for the trucks to be able to bring in the supplies.”

He adds, “We're very, very worried now that we will run out of the energy supplies, the electricity. Electrical stability is really iffy. … We're also worried, frankly, about the mental health needs of people.”