2 Filipinos killed in Türkiye quake

2 Filipinos killed in Türkiye quake
Families of victims stand as rescue officials search among the rubble of collapsed buildings in Kahramanmaras, on February 9, 2023, three days after a 7,8-magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey. The death toll from a huge earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria climbed to more than 17,100 on February 9, as hopes faded of finding survivors stuck under rubble in freezing weather.
AFP / Ozan Kose

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 10:32 a.m.) — Two Filipinos earlier reported to be missing were found dead in the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck Türkiye and Syria, the Philippine Embassy in Ankara announced Friday.

“It is with deepest regret that the embassy must inform the public of the passing of two Filipinos, both earlier reported to be missing in Antakya,” the embassy said in a statement.

Antakya in Hatay province is one of the hardest-hit cities by the tremor.

“The embassy and the consulate general express their deepest condolences and are in coordination with the victims’ families in both the Philippines and in Türkiye,” it added.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., in a tweet, said: "It is with deep regret that we learn of the passing of two Filipinos in the recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake that devastated Türkiye."

The president assured that the Philippine Embassy "continues to work tirelessly to verify any and all information on Filipinos affected by the quake."

Meanwhile, the embassy confirmed reports that a Filipino earlier said to be missing in Antakya was found alive.

It said it will continue leading the Philippine team in charge of relief, rescue and evacuation operations in Türkiye to account for all Filipinos in affected regions.

It also announced that it has evacuated more than 10 Filipino families who are now being shuttled to Ankara where they will be sheltered.

Death toll climbing

The devastating quake has so far killed over 21,000 people in Türkiye and Syria, flattened thousands of buildings and threatened the lives of many victims who are without shelter and drinking water.

Experts fear the number will continue to rise sharply.

Chances of finding survivors have dimmed now that the 72-hour mark that experts consider the most likely period to save lives has passed.

Despite the difficulties brought about by freezing temperatures, thousands of local and foreign searchers have not given up the hunt for more survivors.

Among them is a team of Filipino rescuers sent by the government to aid in relief, rescue and evacuation operations who arrived Thursday.

Monday's quake was the largest Turkey has seen since 1939, when 33,000 people died in the eastern Erzincan province. — Xave Gregorio with Agence France-Presse

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