Skip to main content

Quake Death Toll Surges Past 19,000 as Voices Cry Out from the Rubble


Share This article

More than 19,000 people have now died along the Turkey-Syria border from this week's catastrophic earthquakes. Rescuers are working as quickly as they can as the "survival window" closes fast. 

Time is running out to find survivors in the rubble, now that the first critical 72 hours have passed. But there have still been some miracles.

A little girl was found alive alongside her father who, as they were loaded into an ambulance, whispered "I love you all." 

And in the Turkish city of Malatya, a man was found alive who had been trapped under concrete for 65 hours. 

But the losses are staggering. Many victims were refugees who fled the civil war in Syria.

CLICK HERE to Help Operation Blessing Provide Relief Effort in Turkey

Turkish and Syrian survivors in the Turkish city of Antakya were still waiting Wednesday for their loved ones to be rescued after their apartment buildings collapsed. They sat by a fire trying to keep warm. 

One woman said, "Our building has been destroyed for three days. There are many people under the rubble. I also have a mother and brother (under it)."

Another survivor is also hoping for a miracle, saying, "My mother, father, and brother are under the rubble. I am waiting for them. No sound from them for days."

One man says they can hear the voices of victims, some of them children, still alive in the rubble, but they are still waiting for rescue squads to come and help free them.

A woman in Elbistan says, "Three people from my family are trapped under the rubble."

Drone footage shows the stunning devastation in Syria. Some buildings have been completely destroyed while others seem to show no damage at all. 

Buildings in rebel-held areas of Syria were already weakened by repeated aerial attacks from Syrian and Russian warplanes during the civil war. 

The government says about 300,000 people have been left homeless by the quake, some forced to sleep in cars or tents in the sub-zero temperatures. Syria is receiving almost no international help, but aid organizations are trying to provide blood, clothes, and blankets. 

Turkish President Erdogan is under fire for his government's handling of the disaster. Touring the damage, Erdogan acknowledged "shortcomings" in emergency-response efforts but blamed it on bad weather and damage at a local airport.

CLICK HERE to Help Operation Blessing Provide Relief Effort in Turkey

An Operation Blessing assessment team is on the ground. The ministry is preparing to distribute thousands of blankets and solar lanterns to those without homes, heat or power.  

The final death toll from Turkey and Syria will probably not be known for weeks because of the sheer amount of rubble. 

 CLICK HERE to Help Operation Blessing Provide Relief Effort in Turkey

Share This article

About The Author

Gary Lane

Mr. Lane currently serves as International News Director and Senior International Correspondent for CBN News. He has traveled to more than 120 countries—many of them restricted nations or areas hostile to Christianity and other minority faiths where he has interviewed persecution victims and has provided video reports and analysis for CBN News. Also, he has provided written stories and has served as a consultant for the Voice of the Martyrs. Gary joined The Christian Broadcasting Network in 1984 as the first full-time Middle East Correspondent for CBN News. Based in Jerusalem, Gary produced