More than 41,000 people have now died and hundreds of thousands more have been left injured and homeless after large swathes of the country have been devastated.
A lack of equipment and expertise to reach those who are still trapped has hampered rescue efforts in Turkey, while the situation in Syria has been made complicated by the conflict that has wrecked its infrastructure.
While rescue teams from around the world went to help in Turkey, aid relief for Syria was slowed by demolished roads and by the tensions between rebel-held areas of the country and those controlled by the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
The United Nations launched a $397 million appeal Tuesday to provide aid for nearly 5 million Syrians for the coming three months. That was a day after the global body announced a deal with Damascus to deliver U.N. aid through two more border crossings from Turkey to rebel-held areas of northwest Syria.
The needs on the ground remained daunting, with fiercely cold weather adding to the misery.
With nowhere else to go, many people have been forced to camp outdoors in makeshift shelters or in their cars, desperate for food, water and heat.
The World Health Organisation has warned that with widespread hunger, few ways to escape the bitter cold and the risk of further aftershocks, many survivors are still at risk of losing their lives.
Robert Holden, WHO incident response manager, said: “We are in real danger of seeing a secondary disaster which may cause harm to more people than the initial disaster if we don’t move with the same pace and intensity as we are doing on the search and rescue side.”
General director of earthquake and risk reduction at Turkey’s disaster management authority Ohran Tatar said the earthquakes caused a huge crack of around 400 kilometers.
The two earthquakes took place on five faults and were followed by some 3,900 aftershocks, Tatar said, calling the number a “very serious” and “unusual” amount. The aftershocks have meant people in the affected areas could feel significant shaking every 15 minutes, the official said.
Tatar said billions of cubic meters of rubble would have to be removed. He also warned that heavy snow in some rural areas was creating a risk of avalanches.
The Independent is asking readers to help by giving generously to help those in desperate need.
All funds raised will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Turkey-Syria earthquake appeal, which brings together leading UK aid charities to help with the search efforts and provide vital medicines, clean water and temporary accommodation.
The 14 charities under the DEC include the British Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children and Islamic Relief.
The UK government says it will match donations by the public up to £5m, and British rescue crews are among those urgently helping search for survivors. A total of £33,753 has been donated so far.
Oben Coban, who is working in Turkey for Save the Children, described the earthquake as the worst in Europe for a century, estimating it had affected 2 million children.
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