Turkey recorded at least 24,617 deaths as more than 4,500 casualties were reported in Syria.
The United States has praised Qatar’s “incredible generosity” in providing much-needed aid to Turkey and Syria following Monday’s deadly earthquake, which killed more than 29,000 people.
The statement was made during a meeting on Friday between Qatar’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington.
“I would just note today among so many other things Qatar’s incredible generosity when it comes to trying to help those suffering terribly in Turkey and northern Syria from the devastating earthquake,” Blinken said.
The senior Washington official added that Doha sets “an excellent example” in always stepping up “when it comes to meeting some of the most urgent challenges”.
The remarks came just days after destructive earthquakes struck southern Turkey and northwestern Syria last week – the worst such quake in the region this century.
By Sunday, the death toll surpassed 29,000 in both Turkey and Syria as rescue efforts continued.
Turkey recorded at least 24,617 deaths, while more than 4,500 casualties were reported in Syria.
Almost immediately, Doha dispatched a search and rescue team from the Qatar International Search and Rescue Group of the Internal Security Force, Lekhwiya, to join international partners in hopes of finding survivors under the rubble.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani ordered the launch of an air bridge to Turkey fully equipped with field hospitals, relief aid, and tents among other essential rescue equipment.
The Gulf state also allocated 10,000 mobile homes to Turkey and Syria, as tens of thousands have been left without shelter due to the destruction caused by the quakes.
On Friday, the amir also donated QAR 50 million ($14 million) to earthquake victims on live television during the Oun and Sanad campaign.
The campaign successfully gathered QAR 168,015,836 (around $19 million).
Doha News was on the ground as the Lekhwiya team joined international rescue operations in hopes of detecting signs of life under the rubble.
“We need to work slowly because it’s very dangerous, as any moment could lead to collapse,” Qatar’s Lekhwiya forces told Doha News on the site of one recovery mission during the weekend.
On Saturday, a two-month baby girl was found alive in Antakya 128 hours after the earthquake. Rescuers also found a six-month-pregnant woman, a four-year-old and her father.
The United Nations relief chief Martin Griffith told Sky News that the death toll could “double or more”.
“I think it is difficult to estimate precisely as we need to get under the rubble but I’m sure it will double or more,” he said.