Rescue teams face challenges after destructive Turkey quake affecting 13.5M people

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 8) — Rescue teams are working double-time to save more lives after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit southern Türkiye, formerly called Turkey, on Monday, affecting 13.5 million people in 10 provinces.

"This is a very large area and the number of people (affected) is quite high and the challenges, of course in addition to the cold, there are problems reaching to the region because some locations had experienced major roads leading to cities being destroyed in some way," Turkish Ambassador to the Philippines Niyazi Akyol told CNN Philippines The Source on Wednesday.

Aside from this, debris and snow are also hindering operations, blocking roads and tunnels leading to the regions, he added.

The powerful earthquake also affected neighboring Syria, killing over 2,000.

Citing data from Turkish authorities, Akyol said over 5,000 were reported killed, more than 34,000 people injured, and around 8,000 others so far rescued from the rubble.

The tremor destroyed more than 5,000 buildings.

These numbers are expected to still increase as authorities reach more areas, Akyol said.

With the declaration of a three-month state of emergency, the Turkish government has allocated all its resources for relief and rescue operations, the ambassador said.

The government mobilized around a hundred military aircraft to deliver aid and personnel in hard-to-reach areas, he added.

Officials are prioritizing immediate needs of survivors like temporary shelter, clothing, and food.

Rebuilding of structures will come in only after the immediate matters are addressed, Akyol said.

In response to the destructive earthquake, the international community, including the Philippines, is sending personnel there to help in relief and rescue.