Photo credit :(AP/Mustafa Karali)

The death toll from last Monday’s devastating earthquake in territories of Turkey and Syria now stands at over 8, 700 . This is according to reports from  various sources involved in different aspects of ongoing rescue operations. AFP this morning, Wednesday, February 8, said the figure includes 5,894 casualties in Turkey and 2,470 deaths in Syria.

Fuat Oktay, the Vice President of Turkey has said more than 8,000 people have so far been pulled out of the rubble in his country. Very little is however known about rescue operations in Syria which has long been devastated by war. As one Syrian put it on Tuesday, ” We need excavators and equipment but here we have nothing.” Syrians in many towns and villages affected by the quake are using bare hands to try rescue people buried underneath collapsed buildings.

Oktay also said about 380,000 people in his country have taken refuge in government buildings, hotels, shopping malls, mosques, stadiums and community centres.

The disaster management aqgency of Turkey has said 11,342 cases of building collapse were reported from Turkish districts affected by the earthquake. Out of that number, it has confirmed 5,775 cases.