Pakistan offers help as Turkey’s quake death toll reaches 22

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STAFF REPORTER ISLAMABAD As the death toll from a strong earthquake that rocked eastern Turkey climbed to 22 on Saturday, with more than 1,000 people injured, Pakistan has offered to lend assistance. Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday in a Twitter post offered help to Ankara and condoled over the loss of precious lives. “Deeply saddened by the loss of so many precious lives and of hundreds injured in Turkey’s earthquake,” the prime minister said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the brotherly people and government of Turkey. Pakistan stands by them and is ready to lend any assistance in this hour of need,” he added. According to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has expressed condolences over the loss of lives in Turkey.T h e military’s media wing further said that a contingent of the army, including a special rescue and relief team and field medical facilities, has been readied as part of the assistance offered to Turkey by the Pakistan government. Turkey continues to search of people missing after the earthquake In Turkey, rescue workers are continuing to search for some 30 people buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings in Elazig province and neighbouring Malatya, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca. He warned that the death toll could rise. Emergency workers and security forces distributed tents, beds and blankets as overnight temperatures dropped below freezing in the affected areas.Mosques, schools, sports halls and student dormitories were opened for hundreds who left their homes after the quake. The earthquake was very severe, we desperately ran out (of our home), Emre Gocer told the state-run Anadolu news agency as he sheltered with his family at a sports hall in the town of Sivrice in Elazig. We don’t have a safe place to stay right now. The quake hit Friday at 8:55 pm local time (1755 GMT) at a depth of 6.7 kilometres (around 4 miles) near Sivrice, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, or AFAD, said. Various earthquake monitoring centres gave magnitudes ranging from 6.5 to 6.8. AFAD said it was followed by 228 aftershocks, the strongest with magnitudes 5.4 and 5.1. At least five buildings in Sivrice and 25 in Malatya province were destroyed, said Environment and Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum. Hundreds of other structures were damaged and made unsafe.