A pair of earthquakes that rocked southern Turkey and northern Syria earlier this week had claimed the lives of at least 11,000 people as of Wednesday morning.
In quick succession Monday morning, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck followed shortly thereafter by a magnitude 7.5 tremor, destroying over 10,000 buildings in the area.
"We do not know where the number of dead and injured can go," Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan notified the press at the time.
"The fact that it's winter, the weather is cold and that the earthquake happened in the middle of the night makes the work harder but everyone is working with their hearts and souls in it," Erdoğan said.
As rescue efforts have commenced in recent days, spurred on by dozens of foreign countries pledging to assist in search-and-rescue operations, a fuller picture of the devastation has emerged.
Erdogan confirmed Wednesday that 8,574 casualties had been reported across eleven provinces in Turkey. An additional 2,612 people died in Syria, the nation's health ministry stated.
The fallout from the tremors has forced nearly 300,000 Syrians to evacuate their homes.
"Our country is not qualified to deal with such disasters, especially with our exit from the war that caused the loss of 50,000 engineering machinery and equipment we desperately needed to use in this disaster, in addition to the economic sanctions applied to it," Syria's environment minister Hussein Makhlouf said Wednesday during a press conference in Damascus.
The epicenter of the earthquakes was the Turkish border town of Gaziantep, home to more than 2 million people and one of the largest United Nations-run refugee sites in the region, mostly hosting migrants fleeing the neighboring Syrian Civil War.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the first earthquake released a similar amount of energy to the volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.
Turkey has since shut down several social-media networks, including Twitter, from operating in the country according to NetBlocks, an organization that monitors internet outages. It is reportedly a common tactic used by Turkey during national emergencies and natural disasters, the New York Times notes.
Erdogan visited Kahramanmaras, the center of the second earthquake about 40 miles north of Gaziantep, on Wednesday.
Earthquakes Rock Turkey, Syria, Claiming at Least 3,800 Lives
Graham on Syria: 'This Is a Complete and Utter National Security Disaster in the Making'
Turkey Suggests Invoking NATO Collective Defense Provision in Syrian Conflict