The death toll of the earthquake which hit Turkey and Syria earlier this week has passed 8,700. Search teams from around the world have joined in the rescue effort with many more people still trapped beneath the rubble.
The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 7.8, hit the two countries on February 6. Hundreds of aftershocks have also hit the region.
Prime minister Rishi Sunak last night pledged support to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a phone call, he said: "expressed his deep condolences for the tragic loss of life and pledged the UK’s steadfast support".
The call came as an almost 80-person strong team arrived in the country to assist with the rescue efforts. The team arrived in Turkey last night (February 8).
The UK rescue team has joined colleagues from other nations including South Korea. It has also been confirmed that China has sent a team to assist with the rescue efforts.
Syria’s Bashar Al Assad has been condemned by the UK government for shelling a town held by rebel forces shortly after the earthquake hit. The town of Marea was hit by artillery fire, an act described as “callous and heinous” by MP Alicia Kearns.
One man from South Wales has left the UK for Turkey in the hopes of being reunited with his family. According to Sky News, the man’s brother has been killed in the earthquake and his wife was injured.
Many charitable organisations have stepped forward to support those affected by the earthquake. Oxfam is expected to support people by sending food and water, whilst Save the Children is working to assess needs and has established a response team which will be supporting the national emergency response across the region, in close coordination with the government and key stakeholders. Save the Children’s teams on the ground are planning to support affected communities with winterization and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing.