More than 20,000 killed in devastating Turkey and Syria earthquakes

More than 20,000 people are now confirmed to have died after a devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake tore through Turkey and Syria.

Three days since the quakes and hundreds of aftershocks, the death toll is now 20,451, made up of 17,134 in Turkey and 3,317 in Syria.

The grim milestone came after Tyrkey’s national emergency management agency raised the count – as it has done seemingly every hour.

UN officials expect this number to only increase since the 72-hour mark in which people are most likely to be alive from the quakes dims amid sub-freezing temperatures and rescue efforts hampered by the sheer destruction.

Risklayer, a catastrophe risk firm based in Germany and Australia, tweeted Wednesday the number of dead top 45,000.

The current toll has surpassed even that of the 2011 earthquake that touched off a tsunami in the Fukushima region of Japan, killing more than 18,000.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), at least 70,347 people have been confirmed injured by the earthquakes.

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