The death toll from the quakes two weeks ago rose to 41,156 in Turkey, AFAD said on Monday, and it was expected to climb further, with 385,000 apartments known to have been destroyed or seriously damaged and many people still missing.
Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan said construction work on nearly 200,000 apartments in 11 earthquake-hit provinces would begin next month.
Total US humanitarian assistance to support the earthquake response in Turkey and Syria has reached $US185 million, the US State Department said. Australia is contribution $10 million.
Among the survivors of the earthquakes are about 356,000 pregnant women who urgently need access to health services, the UN sexual and reproductive health agency has said.
They include 226,000 women in Turkey and 130,000 in Syria, about 38,800 of whom will deliver in the next month. Many of them were sheltering in camps or exposed to freezing temperatures and struggling to get food or clean water.
In Syria, already shattered by more than a decade of civil war, most deaths have been in the north-west, where the United Nations said 4525 people were killed. The area is controlled by insurgents at war with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, complicating aid efforts.
Syrian officials say 1414 people were killed in areas under the control of Assad’s government.
Medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said a convoy of 14 of its trucks had entered north-western Syria from Turkey on Sunday to assist in rescue operations.
The World Food Program has also been pressuring authorities in that region to stop blocking access for aid from Syrian government-controlled areas.
As of Monday, 197 trucks loaded with UN humanitarian aid had entered north-west Syria through two border crossings, a spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.
Thousands of Syrian refugees in Turkey have returned to their homes across the border to get in touch with relatives affected by the devastation.
At the Turkish Cilvegozu crossing, hundreds of Syrians lined up starting early on Monday to cross.
Mustafa Hannan, who dropped off his pregnant wife and three-year-old son, said he saw about 350 people waiting.
The 27-year-old car electrician said his family was leaving for a few months after their home in Antakya collapsed, taking up a pledge by authorities allowing them to spend up to six months in Syria without losing the chance to return to Turkey.
“I’m worried they won’t be allowed back,” he said. “We’ve already been separated from our nation. Are we going to be separated from our families now too? If I rebuild here but they can’t return, my life will be lost.”
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