When time stood still and everything scattered in Latakia
Shafaq News / In mere minutes, a once-bustling spot turned into a ghost town, the rubble of which is no different from that left by the aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe or a world war. This is the least that can be said to describe the situation in Latakia, more than a week after the devastating earthquake that struck it, along with other cities of northern Syria. The city's people are roaming in a trance, unable to escape the shock's intensity.
Even though it has been nine days since the M7.8 earthquake, the tragedy in Syria is still unfolding, whether it is in Latakia or other coastal and northern cities and towns. Multilateral local, regional, and international armed confrontations there have hampered rescue and relief attempts for thousands of civilians and delayed aid to hundreds of thousands of survivors and affected individuals.
Estimates place the death toll at around 800, with 1131 injured. The earthquake also destroyed 103 buildings, making 247 others inhabitable since they could collapse anytime. Dozens of centers were opened to shelter those displaced by the disaster, which is still unfolding.
In total, the Syrian Ministry of Health reported 1,414 fatalities and 2,349 injuries up until Monday, in addition to 3,553 fatalities and 14,749 injuries in Idlib, which is under the control of armed Islamist groups. One of these groups is Jabhat al-Nusra, categorized as a terrorist organization whose name has since changed to Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (H.T.S.) -Levent Liberation Committee.
Nevertheless, it is believed that the number of casualties and those affected in Idlib, who receive direct cross-border aid from Turkish territory, is much higher than these figures.
Latakia is still engaged in rescue operations, but chances of finding survivors of the catastrophe, which claimed many families, are dwindling minute by minute. Meanwhile, according to Turkish and Syrian figures, the earthquake that struck at dawn last Monday left more than 37,000 people dead and hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
So far, relief planes from Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia, Algeria, the U.A.E., Armenia, Pakistan, China, the Chechen Republic, Libya, Oman, Sudan, Belarus, Jordan, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Venezuela, Tunisia, and Serbia, have been sent directly to Syria. Aid from Romania and Italy also came through Beirut airport.
However, the disaster exposed the disparity in humanitarian attention, between the affected areas in Syria and those hit by the earthquake in Turkey, which has received hundreds of air relief flights from dozens of countries since the first hours of the earthquake.