More than 20,000 people have died in Turkey and Syria from multiple earthquakes in the region. Search and rescue crews continue the search for survivors, but concerns grow as temperatures drop that another “secondary disaster” could be on its way with lack of water, communications and power from the collapsed buildings.

The area saw uncharacteristically freezing temperatures this week, making search efforts more complicated. Traffic congestion and lack of access to water are also causing concerns that the earthquakes might not be the only cause for worry, The Associated Press reported.

At least 68,000 were injured from the quakes across the two countries, and Turkey received offers for aid from almost 100 countries, CNN reported.

The highly populated area was hit by a 7.8 magnitude quake Tuesday morning, followed by another 7.5 magnitude quake. Aftershocks continue to plague the region and will likely continue to affect it. Collapsed buildings in the area hit more than 6,400.

What areas were most impacted in Turkey, Syria earthquake?

Areas impacted most in Turkey were housing millions of Syrian refugees fleeing the civil war. A large part of the impacted area in Syria was in part of the conflict zone during the war, making delivering aid to the area precarious.

“On both sides of this bitter conflict, there has been opposition to cross line(s to provide) frontline aid. I hope all of those political ideas that we have to make it difficult for the other side will be gone now. They all have one common enemy which is this earthquake and the children on both sides should have the relief they need,” Jan Egeland, security general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told CNN.

Turkish President Erdogan promises to rebuild within a year

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Gaziantep, near the epicenter of the quake, on Thursday and promised “to rebuild shattered towns and cities within a year,” The Washington Post reported.

Palestinian rescue workers joined the search on Thursday and sent 73 doctors, medics and first responders to help out with the crisis.

“This is a purely humanitarian matter — not political or religious. We have to do our part,” Imad Zuheiri, the leader of the Palestinian Authority’s agency, told The Wall Street Journal.

Turkey earthquake on track to become one of the deadliest

While search and rescue teams are still searching for survivors, experts predict the death toll will likely rise even higher than the over 21,000 we know now. According to The New York Times, here are the most deadly earthquakes since 2000.

  • South Asia, 2004: 298,000 deaths — majority in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India.
  • Haiti, 2010: 226,000 deaths — Aftershocks continued to wreak havoc in the area days following the initial quake.
  • China, 2008: 88,000 deaths — the quake also triggered landslides and destroyed much of the area’s infrastructure.
  • Pakistan, 2005: 86,000 deaths — mainly happened in Pakistan but also killed people in Afghanistan and India.
  • Iran, 2003: 33,000 deaths — this disaster also took place during the winter and freezing temperatures complicated search and rescue efforts.
  • India, 2001: 20,000 deaths.
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