LIVE UPDATE I FOCUS Earthquake aid has turned but rescue efforts continue

LIVE UPDATE I FOCUS Earthquake aid has turned but rescue efforts continue

Emergency workers made a series of dramatic rescues in Turkey on Friday, pulling scores of people from the rubble four days after a catastrophic 7.8-magnitude earthquake killed more than 20,000 people. Temperatures are below freezing across large areas and many people are without shelter. The government has distributed millions of hot meals, as well as tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many needy people.

Earthquake Updates:


ALEPPO, Syria – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made his first public appearance in the earthquake-ravaged region of Syria.

Four days after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, Assad and his wife Asma visited injured patients at Aleppo University Hospital on Friday, Syrian state media reported.

Aleppo, Syria’s second city, has already been scarred by years of heavy bombardment and shelling, and was one of the most devastated by the February 6 earthquake.

Assad has been meeting with representatives of aid-sending countries, but so far they have been in Damascus. Friday’s visit to Aleppo marked his first visit to the earthquake-ravaged region.


Key Developments:

— Death toll rises, rescues slow After the earthquake

– Turkey Building code lax policing Flagging before an earthquake

Syrian orphans Taken in by overwhelmed relatives

— A look at the world’s deadliest earthquakes In the last 25 years

— Find more AP coverage at https://


TOKYO — Japan is providing emergency blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheets and tents to Syria after the February 6 earthquake.

Japan’s foreign ministry said on Friday that the shipment of emergency humanitarian aid was sent at the request of the Syrian government and was being delivered through the Japan International Cooperation Agency, or JICA.

Japan has sent a team of about 70 search and rescue personnel to Turkey.

The earthquake killed more than 21,000 people in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria.


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Treasury Department said Thursday it has issued a license to allow earthquake-related relief that would otherwise be prohibited by sanctions on Syria.

“US sanctions on Syria will not stand in the way of efforts to save the lives of the Syrian people,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adiemo said in a statement. “While the U.S. sanctions program already contains strong exemptions for humanitarian efforts, today Treasury is issuing a blanket general license to authorize earthquake relief efforts so that aid providers can focus on what is most needed: saving lives and rebuilding.”

License period is six months. It expands on the extensive humanitarian approvals already in force.

The United States will provide $85 million in initial earthquake aid to Turkey and Syria, which will include medicine, shelter and other supplies, President Joe Biden announced. “Our hearts go out to the people of Turkey and Syria,” he said on Twitter.


CANBERRA, Australia – Australia has deployed a 72-person search and rescue team to assist Turkish authorities.

The team will take with them about 22 tonnes of equipment and vital supplies, including tents, bandages, bolt cutters, chainsaws and drills, and will be self-sufficient.

Defense Minister Richard Marles told reporters in Canberra on Friday the team “will make a real difference when they get on the ground.”

He noted that Australia had previously announced a $6.9 million contribution to the aid effort.

Meanwhile, New Zealand said on Friday it was donating another $1.9 million to humanitarian efforts in Turkey and Syria, bringing its contribution to $2.8 million. The new money will go to the World Food Program in Turkey and UNICEF in Syria.

New Zealand is dedicating two emergency information specialists to work remotely from New Zealand to coordinate round-the-clock search and rescue efforts in Turkey. ___

A 10-year-old girl was rescued alive in Antakya district of Hatay province in Turkey on Thursday night. DHA news agency said that after initial contact with the child, rescuers worked at the scene for 32 hours to clear a path to him. The news agency reported that doctors had to amputate one of the girl’s arms to free her from the rubble because removing the block that was crushing her would have put her in more danger. The girl’s parents and three siblings were found dead.

An hour earlier, rescuers pulled a 17-year-old girl from the rubble in Adiaman province. Miners and others pulled him out and medics carried him to an ambulance with an IV bag hanging on a stretcher. They clapped briefly before a rescuer called for calm.

Also, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation workers rescued a 20-year-old man in Kahramanmaras, who was shouting “God is great”.

Their medical conditions were unknown.

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