Death toll from massive quakes rises to 5,434 in Türkiye

ANKARA, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- The death toll in Türkiye's devastating earthquakes climbed to 5,434 on Tuesday, while the number of injuries rose to 31,777, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

"Weather conditions are extremely harsh. Rescue workers barely reached the damaged regions," Koca said at a joint press conference with Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, adding that the teams are still searching for trapped survivors in the quake-hit zones.

Meanwhile, Akar said the Turkish Armed forces were dispatching nine more commando battalions from the units in western Türkiye to the quake-hit zones, along with four battalions from northern Cyprus to assist the quake victims.

A total of 7,500 soldiers are involved in the rescue efforts and 1,500 more will join on Wednesday, the minister said, adding that all military units, headquarters and garrisons in the quake zones are completely open to civilians.

The death toll is likely to increase as nearly 6,000 buildings were flattened and the cold weather, along with multiple aftershocks, is hampering the rescue efforts.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared a three-month state of emergency Tuesday in 10 of the country's provinces hit by the quakes.

A powerful magnitude 7.7 earthquake struck Türkiye's southern province of Kahramanmaras at 4:17 a.m. local time (0117 GMT) on Monday, followed by a magnitude 6.4 quake a few minutes later in the country's southern province of Gaziantep and a magnitude 7.6 earthquake at 1:24 p.m. local time (1024 GMT) in Kahramanmaras.

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