The death toll from a powerful earthquake in Turkey has reached 3,549 people, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to the nation. In Syria, the Red Cross estimates that at least 1,500 people have died, RIA Novosti reported.
"We have 3,549 dead and 22,168 wounded. The biggest consolation for us is that so far more than eight thousand of our citizens have been rescued alive from under the rubble," Erdogan said.
He noted that the natural disaster affected 10 provinces with some 13 million people.
"We are facing one of the biggest disasters not only in the history of the republic, in our geography, but also in the world," he said.
Earlier, he announced the introduction of a three-month state of emergency in the affected regions.
According to President of Turkey, over 53,000 people take part in the search and rescue works, the number of teams from Turkey and abroad increasing constantly.
The earthquake with magnitude 7.4 occurred in Kahramanmaras province early yesterday morning. As Erdogan noted, it was the strongest since 1939. Three dozen aftershocks followed, and in the middle of the day, new powerful tremors of magnitude 7.7. The earthquake was felt in Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia and on the territory of Russia, in Sochi.
The Syrian provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartous were also seriously affected. According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Health of Syria, 812 people died and 1,449 were injured. And the International Federation of the Red Cross estimated the number of victims at more than 1.5 thousand people and the victims at 3.5 thousand.