More than 11,000 people are now confirmed dead after a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria.
Severe aftershocks ‘like Armageddon’ sent people running as thousands of buildings collapsed.
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The death toll is expected to rise.
The quake struck 20 miles from Gaziantep.
The historical castle of Gaziantep collapsed.
With hope of finding survivors fading, stretched rescue teams in Turkey and Syria searched Wednesday for signs of life in the rubble of thousands of buildings toppled by the world’s deadliest quake in more than a decade. The confirmed death toll passed 11,000.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the especially hard-hit Hatay province, where more than 3,300 people died and entire neighborhoods were destroyed. Residents there have criticized the government’s response, saying rescuers were slow to arrive.
Erdogan, who faces a tough battle for reelection in May, acknowledged “shortcomings” in the response to Monday’s 7.8 magnitude quake but said the winter weather had been a factor. The earthquake destroyed the runway in Hatay’s airport, further disrupting the response.
“It is not possible to be prepared for such a disaster,” Erdogan said. “We will not leave any of our citizens uncared for.” He also hit back at critics, saying ”dishonorable people” were spreading “lies and slander” about the government’s response.