More than 5,600 buildings in Turkey have been destroyed by yesterday’s powerful earthquake and aftershocks – as the long-running civil war in Syria complicates rescue efforts there.
At least 4,310 people have died across both countries – and officials fear that the number of fatalities will rise further.
The 7.8 magnitude earthquake happened before dawn on Monday, when many people would have been sleeping.
And while rescuers have spent the night scouring rubble, bitterly cold weather could reduce the time they have to find survivors.
More than 7,800 people in Turkey have been rescued across 10 provinces so far – and crews from around the world have been making their way to the epicenter to help.
In Syria, the earthquake and subsequent tremors further weakened the foundations of buildings that have borne the brunt of shelling and airstrikes during a decade of unrest.
The latest figures suggest more than 13,000 in Turkey have been injured – and in the city of Iskenderun, there was an enormous pile of debris where an intensive care unit once stood.
Erdogan declares seven days of national mourning
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken to his US counterpart Joe Biden.
The White House said Mr Biden underscored “the readiness of the United States to provide any and all needed assistance” to Turkey – a NATO ally.
Two, 79-person urban search and rescue teams have been deployed by Washington – and discussions are ongoing about other forms of relief, including health services.
Rescue workers from the UK, Czech Republic and Germany have also been making their way to the epicenter.
Tens of thousands have been left homeless across Turkey and Syria – and spent last night in the cold.
About 20 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake in Gaziantep, people took refuge in shopping centers, mosques, stadiums and community centers.
In a rebel-held enclave of Syria, four million people were already displaced before the powerful tremors struck – and many live in buildings wrecked by military bombardments.
A mound of concrete and steel roads lay where a multi-storey building once stood in Aleppo, with a thin young man expressing fears that 12 families could be trapped.
Syria asks for help
Syria’s UN ambassador Bassam Sabbagh has requested help from the United Nations – receiving assurance that member states will do everything possible in this “very difficult situation”.
He went on to stress that the government is ready to help and coordinate aid deliveries “to all Syrians in all territories of Syria”.
But as well as harsh winter weather, damage to roads and fuel shortages have hampered the UN’s response to the earthquake there.
“The infrastructure is damaged, the roads that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how to get to the people… but we are working hard,” UN resident coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told the Reuters news agency.
By Sky News