Thinly stretched rescue workers dug through the night into Wednesday morning to reach survivors trapped beneath the rubble of the devastating earthquakes that rocked southern Turkey and war-ravaged northern Syria two days ago.
The combined death toll rose to more than 9,500 across the two countries as the morning progressed, with expectations the grim figure will pass 11,000 before the day is out, making the quake the deadliest in more than a decade.
Previously a 2011 earthquake in Japan triggered a tsunami, killing nearly 20,000 people.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to travel to town of Pazarcik, the epicenter of the quake, and to the worst-hit province of Hatay on Wednesday, AP reports.
Turkey now has some 60,000 aid personnel in the quake-hit zone, but with the devastation so widespread many are still waiting for help.
Search teams from more than two dozen countries joined the Turkish emergency personnel and aid pledges poured in as the death toll continues its daily climb.
As many as 23 million people could be affected in the quake-hit region, according to Adelheid Marschang, a senior emergencies officer with the World Health Organization, who called it a “crisis on top of multiple crises.”
Many survivors in Turkey have had to sleep in cars, outside or in government shelters, the AP report details.
“We don’t have a tent, we don’t have a heating stove, we don’t have anything. Our children are in bad shape. We are all getting wet under the rain and our kids are out in the cold,” Aysan Kurt, 27, told the news service.
“We did not die from hunger or the earthquake, but we will die freezing from the cold.”
Erdogan said 13 million of the country’s 85 million people were affected, and he declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces.
More than 8,000 people have been pulled from the debris in Turkey, and some 380,000 have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, authorities said.