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Live updates: New aftershock hits Türkiye’s Hatay as toll surpasses 45,000

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged that his government would take all necessary measures to prepare cities for future disasters as the death toll from the devastating February 6 earthquakes surpassed a grim 45,000 mark amid new aftershocks.

According to Türkiye’s disaster management agency AFAD, the death toll in the country’s southern provinces climbed to at least 45,089 people with more than 108,000 injured.

In northern Syria, at least 7,259 people have been reported dead — mainly in the opposition-run regions. That number, however, includes those who died within Türkiye. In all, the death toll from both countries has surpassed 50,000.

Here is how you can help the earthquake victims.

Following are the latest updates:

1920 GMT — Aid consortium carries relief materials from Germany to Türkiye

In a joint initiative to help earthquake victims in southern Türkiye, six European logistics and shipping companies have carried around 450 tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies from Germany to the region, according to a statement.

According to a statement by SunExpress, a joint venture of flag carrier Turkish Airlines and Germany’s Lufthansa, more than 3,000 shipments have been received at the parcel stores for delivery to quake victims.

The companies plan to maintain the initiative over the next few weeks and have set a target of flying about 1,000 tonnes of relief supplies to the earthquake zone.

1909 GMT — Solidarity shown with Türkiye during disaster can open new page in relations: EU

The solidarity the EU has shown after earthquakes struck Türkiye last month could open a new page in relations, according to the bloc’s commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management.

Janez Lenarcic emphasised at the European parliament’s Development Committee that the EU will continue to support Türkiye with all its means.

The support will need to continue beyond the EU for the foreseeable future and the wider international community will need to assist in reconstruction and rehabilitation, he said.

1859 GMT — Kylian Mbappe vows to aid Türkiye quake victims at every opportunity

Paris Saint-Germain’s French football star Kylian Mbappe has pledged to do his best to help earthquake victims in Türkiye.

“A great tragedy in Türkiye. The football community of the world will gather and support Türkiye. This help is important to me. An extraordinary duty,” he said in a broadcasting event to raise donations for the survivors of two back-to-back earthquakes early last month.

“First, of course, people’s and children’s dreams are very important. I think we can regain the smile of many children,” said Mbappe, voicing his pride at being a part of the fundraiser campaign.

1620 GMT — UN scrambles to reunite families after Türkiye -Syria quake

Reuniting children with their missing families has become a top priority in the aftermath of last month’s massive earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria, the head of the UN children’s agency said Wednesday.

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said the February 6 quakes that rocked southeast Türkiye and parts of northern Syria has compounded existing crises in war-torn Syria.

“The first challenge is figuring out if (the) children’s parents are alive in some place, and if they are trying to reunite them,” she told The Associated Press, speaking at a school in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo.

Since the quake, the school has been turned into a shelter for families who lost their homes.

In Türkiye, Derya Yanik, the minister for family affairs, said on Wednesday that more than 1,800 “unaccompanied children” have been reunited with their families since the quake. Efforts were underway to identify 83 other children and reunite them with family members, Yanik said.

12:26 GMT — Turkish FM thanks Russia, Canada for help in the aftermath of February 6 disaster

Türkiye’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met with his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the Group of 20 foreign ministers’ meeting in the capital New Delhi.

In a Twitter post, Cavusoglu said he met with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and discussed regional issues.

He also thanked Lavrov for Russia’s support after the last month’s twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye.

Cavusoglu also met with his Canadian counterpart Melanie Joly and thanked her for Canada’s support after the earthquakes.

“Discussed #NATO enlargement & developments in #Ukraine,” he added.

0934 GMT —  Tunisian singer holds benefit concert for quake victims

Tunisian singer Lotfi Bouchnak has held a benefit concert for the victims of the deadly earthquakes that jolted Türkiye and Syria on February 6.

Bouchnak performed late on Tuesday at the Tunisian Culture Palace in a concert attended by Tunisian Culture Minister Hayat Guettat, Minister of Social Affairs Malek Zahi, Turkish Ambassador to Tunisia Caglar Fahri Cakiralp and a number of foreign diplomats.

The concert came as part of a wave of solidarity from Tunisia with the quake victims in Türkiye, including relief planes from the Defense Ministry and the Red Crescent.

Tunisia sent a 41-strong rescue team and more than 60 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to Türkiye and Syria following the quakes.

0917 GMT — US-based Turkish charity calls for aid to quake victims

US-based non-governmental organisation Turkish Philanthropy Funds (TPF) has called for aid for earthquake victims in Türkiye during a game.

During the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) match between Villanova University and Seton Hall University, footage of the earthquake was shown to the fans along with a call for aid. A help desk for earthquake victims was also set up at the Prudential Center in Newark.

Cagla Bengi, a Turkish Seton Hall University student, who works as a volunteer at the help desk, stated that the earthquake that occurred back home deeply affected her.

Asli Subasili, another Turkish student studying at Seton Hall, said they are trying to direct aid to Türkiye as much as they can and added: “All our hearts, prayers and minds are with Türkiye.”

0820 GMT — Second earthquake jolts Türkiye’s Hatay province

According to AFAD, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake hit the Antakya district of Hatay province at a depth of 11.06 kilometres.

The quake occurred at 0720GMT (10:20 am local time).

No casualties were reported, Hatay Governor Rahmi Dogan told Anadolu Agency.

The last earthquake that hit Hatay province was of magnitude 6.4 and occurred on February 20. 

The latest tremor came as Türkiye deals with the aftermath of the devastating 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes quakes.

0708 GMT — Schools reopen in Diyarbakir

Some 478,000 students have returned to schools in  Türkiye’s Diyarbakir.

Around 1,766 schools reopened three weeks after the deadly February 6 earthquakes.

2305 GMT — Türkiye’s envoy to Saudi Arabia thanks GCC for support

Türkiye’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia has thanked the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for providing urgent relief to his country’s earthquake-hit areas. Fatih Ulusoy met with the leaders at the council’s headquarters in Riyadh. 

“During the meeting, cooperation opportunities between Türkiye and the GCC were also discussed,” Ulusoy said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the council said in a statement that the newly appointed secretary general of the GCC, Jasem Mohamed Albudaiwi, affirmed the keenness of the leaders of the GCC countries “to provide urgent relief to the afflicted and those affected by the earthquake(s).”

2002 GMT — Over 5M need assistance in Syria

The devastating earthquakes that struck southern Türkiye, also impacting northern Syria, have killed at least 50,000 people with many more injured, tens of thousands still missing and hundreds of thousands homeless, the UN humanitarian chief has said. 

“Early assessments indicated 5 million people in Syria require basic shelter and non-food assistance,” Martin Griffiths said. “In many areas, four to five families are packed into tents, with no special facilities for older people, people with chronic illnesses or those with disabilities.”

As for Türkiye, the two very large earthquakes “caused an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damages,” the equivalent of 4 percent of the country’s 2021 GDP, according to a World Bank rapid damage assessment report released Monday.

For our live updates from Tuesday (February 28), click here.

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