With the death toll crossing 15,000 due to devastating earthquakes across Turkey and Syria, anger has mounted in the quake-hit pockets over slow and inadequate response by authorities.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan conceded "shortcomings" after criticism of his government's response to the massive earthquake
Rescue workers are still struggling to reach some of the worst-hit areas. They are held back by destroyed roads, poor weather, and a lack of resources and heavy equipment. They fear the toll may go up even higher in the hours ahead.
In Turkey, where the death toll is over 7,100, there is anger in the streets. Many feel the government’s response has been slow and inadequate. They fear that even some of those who survived may die of cold and hunger.
Meanwhile, team of NDRF personnel, comprising one-self-contained team of 51 rescuers with mahila rescuers, canines, equipment and vehicles, rushed to Turkey yesterday. Another team of 50 personnel had also left for Turkey to conduct Urban Search and Rescue.
The devastating earthquake ripped through Turkey and Syria, leaving destruction and debris on each side of the border.
One of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in a century shook residents from their beds at around 4 am on Monday, sending tremors as far away as Lebanon and Israel. The window for rescuers to find survivors is narrowing as the effort nears the 72-hour mark that disaster experts consider the most likely period to save lives.
Officials and medics said 12,391 people had died in Turkey and at least 2,992 in Syria from Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the total to 15,383 -- and experts fear the number will continue to rise sharply.
The 'White Helmets' group, officially known as the Syria Civil Defense, reported 740 deaths in opposition-controlled areas. Much of northwestern Syria, which borders Turkey, is controlled by anti-government forces amid a bloody civil war that began in 2011.
A leading UN official called for the facilitation of aid access to rebel-held areas in the northwest, warning relief stocks will soon be depleted.
The issue of aid to Syria is a delicate one, and the sanctioned government in Damascus made an official plea to the EU for help, the bloc's commissioner for crisis management Janez Lenarcic said.
A decade of civil war and Syrian-Russian aerial bombardment had already destroyed hospitals, collapsed the economy and prompted electricity, fuel and water shortages.
The European Commission is "encouraging" EU member countries to respond to Syria's request for medical supplies and food, while monitoring to ensure that any aid "is not diverted" by President Bashar al-Assad's government, Lenarcic noted.