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12° Nicosia,
27 May, 2024
 
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Fate of some Turkish Cypriot students unknown after quake

Turkey declares mourning as countries offer help, fate of more student groups still unknown

Newsroom

A number of Turkish Cypriot students were going back home after being pulled to safety in Adiyaman, hours following a deadly earthquake that left many dead in Turkey and Syria, but reports said the fate of additional pupils from the island believed to be in the rubble remained unknown.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared seven days of national mourning after Monday’s catastrophic earthquake and aftershocks that devastated the country's southeastern provinces.

A mourning period was also declared in the northern part of Cyprus, where a number of students from a Turkish Cypriot junior high school landed safely at Ercan airport after being rescued from a collapsed hotel in Adiyaman.

Information about the exact number of Turkish Cypriot students, educators, and chaperons who were still missing was not available due to conflicting reports

Other media reports said an 8-floor hotel collapsed in the earthquake, trapping 28 Turkish Cypriots, including 24 children on a co-ed volley mission. Some parents had reportedly flown from north Nicosia to Adiyaman to assist in the situation amid news that kids were still missing.

But Turkish Cypriot media later all children who attend a private middle school in Famagusta were safe and on their way back to Ercan Airport, in the northern part of the divided island. Reports said they had stayed at a different hotel and were rescued. 

Additional reports said three educators and one parent, who were also in a traveling group, remained in the affected area, helping search efforts after themselves being pulled out.

The fate of additional students from Turkish Cypriot schools had remained unknown as there was no new information about persons who may still be under the rubble.

Information about the exact number of Turkish Cypriot students, educators, and chaperons who were still missing was not available due to conflicting reports.

Seismologists said the initial earthquake was one of the largest ever recorded in Turkey, while survivors told reporters shaking took two minutes before it stopped.

Rescuers on Tuesday were still battling cold weather, rain, and aftershocks that were still being felt across the region.

Countries around the world, including Greece, rushed to offer help including specialist teams, sniffer dogs and equipment.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called Erdogan on Monday, expressing Greece’s readiness to help with relief efforts in addition to an already-dispatched rescue mission.

Cypriot outgoing President Nicos President also expressed his sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkey.

“My most sincere condolences to the families of the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Syria and Turkey. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those injured, wishing them speedy recovery,” Anastasiades wrote on Twitter.

The World Health Organization has warned that the death toll from the strong earthquakes near Turkey’s Syrian border could rise eight-fold.

Media reports after midnight said more than 3400 people were estimated to have died in the earthquake.

Story has been updated to reflect conflicting reports, unknown fate of other student groups also from Cyprus

TAGS
Cyprus  |  Turkey  |  Adiyaman  |  Turkish Cypriot  |  students  |  earthquake

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