Live Updates I Focus turns to earthquake relief, but rescue efforts continue

Rescue workers conducted a dramatic series of rescue operations in Turkey on Friday, pulling several people from the rubble four days after a catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake killed more than 20,000 people. Temperatures remain below freezing in the large region, and many people have no place to stay. The government has distributed millions of hot meals, tents and blankets, but is still struggling to reach many in need.

The latest on the earthquake:


ALEPPO, Syria — Syrian President Bashar Assad is making his first public appearance in Syria’s earthquake-ravaged areas.

Four days after the 7.8-magnitude quake, Assad and his wife Asmaa visited wounded patients at Aleppo University Hospital on Friday, Syrian state media said.

Aleppo is Syria’s second-largest city, already scarred by years of heavy bombing and shelling, and among the worst-damaged cities by the February 6 earthquake.

Assad has met with delegations from countries sending aid, but so far these have taken place in Damascus. Friday’s visit to Aleppo was his first visit to the earthquake-hit areas.



– The death toll is increasing, the number of rescue workers is decreasing earthquake consequences

— That of Turkey lax supervision of building regulations marked before tremors

Syrian orphans taken in by overwhelmed relatives

— A look at the world’s deadliest quakes in the past 25 years

— For more AP coverage, visit https://


TOKYO – Japan provides rescue blankets, sleeping mats, plastic sheeting and tents to Syria after the Feb. 6 earthquake.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry on Friday said the shipment of emergency humanitarian aid was sent at the request of the Syrian government and will be provided through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

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

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


WASHINGTON — The US Treasury Department said Thursday it had issued a license to allow earthquake-related relief efforts that would otherwise be prohibited by sanctions on Syria.

“US sanctions in Syria will not stand in the way of life-saving efforts for the Syrian people,” Deputy Finance Minister Wally Adeyemo said in a statement. “While U.S. sanctions programs already include robust exceptions for humanitarian efforts, the Treasury Department today issued a blanket general license authorizing earthquake relief efforts so those providing assistance can focus on what’s most needed: saving lives and… Reconstruction.”

The license is valid for six months. It extends the comprehensive humanitarian permits already in place.

The United States will initially provide Turkey and Syria with $85 million in earthquake aid, including medicines, shelter and other supplies, President Joe Biden announced. “Our hearts remain with the people of Türkiye and Syria,” he said on Twitter.


CANBERRA, Australia – Australia has dispatched a search and rescue team of 72 personnel to assist Turkish authorities.

The team will take around 22 tons of gear and essential supplies, including tents, bandages, bolt cutters, chainsaws and drills, and fend for themselves.

Defense Secretary Richard Marles told reporters in Canberra on Friday the team will “make a real difference when it comes to the ground.”

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

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

New Zealand is also making available two Emergency Information Specialists working remotely from New Zealand to help coordinate 24/7 search and rescue operations in Turkey. ___

A 10-year-old girl was rescued alive Thursday evening in Antakya district in Turkey’s Hatay province. The DHA news agency said after initial contact with the child, rescuers worked on site for 32 hours to clear a passageway to her. Medics had to amputate her arm to extricate the girl from the rubble because removing the block crushing her would have endangered her further, the news outlet reported. The girl’s parents and three siblings were found dead.

An hour earlier, rescuers in Adiyaman province pulled a 17-year-old girl from rubble. Miners and others brought her out and paramedics took her to an ambulance on a gurney with an IV bag hanging. They clapped their hands briefly before a rescuer asked for silence.

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

Her medical condition was unknown.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission. Live Updates I Focus turns to earthquake relief, but rescue efforts continue

Sarah Y. Kim

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