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The death toll in the Syria earthquake has exceeded 2,500 but many are still trapped


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The death toll from the devastating earthquake in Syria has surpassed 2,500, according to Syrian state media and a rescue service operating in opposition-held northwest Syria.

The White Helmets rescue team said on Twitter that the death toll in opposition-held areas had risen to more than 1,280 and more than 2,600 wounded.

The White Helmets wrote: “The number is expected to increase dramatically due to the presence of hundreds of families under the rubble, more than 50 hours after the earthquake.”

Overnight, Syria’s health minister said the death toll in government-held areas of the country had risen to 1,250, state-run news website Al-Ekhbariya reported in its Telegram feed. He added that the number of wounded reached 2054.

The war-torn country has called on the United Nations and all member states to help with rescue efforts, health services, shelter and food aid.

The United Nations said it was “exploring all avenues” to get supplies into opposition-held northwest Syria, and launched $25 million in an emergency fund to help kick-start the humanitarian response in Turkey and Syria.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the road leading to the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Turkey into northern Syria was damaged, temporarily disrupting aid deliveries to opposition-held areas. He said the crossing itself was “actually intact”.

Bab al-Hawa is the only crossing point through which UN aid is allowed into the area.

Dujarric said the United Nations is preparing a convoy to cross conflict lines inside Syria. But that would likely require a new deal with the government of Bashar al-Assad, which has laid siege to opposition-held areas throughout the civil war.

Dujarric said that the Syrian refugees in Turkey constitute more than 1.7 million out of the 15 million people who live in the ten provinces affected by the earthquake.

In Syria — including in opposition-held areas — USAID says U.S. humanitarian partners are already providing emergency aid to earthquake victims, Stephen Allen, USAID disaster chief. The response team told reporters in Ankara.

And the official Syrian News Agency (SANA) stated that violent earthquakes shook, earlier Monday, Idlib, Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Raqqa.

Hundreds of buildings have also been destroyed or damaged in opposition-held areas of northern Syria, as rescue teams frantically search for survivors.

More than 6,234 people have died so far in Turkey in two earthquakes of magnitude 7.7 and 7.6, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

According to the agency, the two earthquakes originated in the southern province of Kahramanmaraş.

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