Earthquake kills more than 33,000 in Turkey and Syria

More than 34,179 people have been killed so far by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday. The quake also rocked parts of Lebanon.

The death toll in Turkey has climbed to 29,605, the Turkish Emergency Coordination Center said Sunday.

The total number of deaths in Syria stands at 4,574, including 2,168 in rebel-held areas in the northwest.

People in both countries lost their homes and were forced into the freezing cold and snow. 

To make matters worse, Syria is also engaged in a civil war that has been waged for 12 years and has caused widespread damage at all levels, including the destruction of several hospitals. 

The country’s ongoing war has weakened vital infrastructure, including the health system, reducing its capacity to respond to emergencies like this one. Only 59% of hospitals in Syria are fully functional. 

But there is some good news.

Early this week, a newborn baby girl was pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Hatay, Turkey. Her parents were killed. The baby was still connected to her mother’s umbilical cord. She is now in a hospital in stable condition, tweeted Anadol Agency based in Turkey.

She will be cared for by her great-uncle and other family members once she is released from the hospital, though that family has also lost its home and is now living in a tent. She was named “Aya,†which means “a gift from God.”

The severe earthquake shook southern Turkey in a town near Gaziantep, located about 50 miles north of the Syrian border, at 4:17 a. m. on February 6. 

As first responders worked to save lives amid the devastation, hundreds of strong aftershocks followed.