As the death toll rises and hope fades, the world has been shaken by the catastrophic earthquake that has left thousands of buildings in ruins. With the immense destruction and suffering caused by the 7.8 magnitude quake, it is clear that the scale of this disaster is far too great for any one country to handle alone. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at the heartbreaking stories of the people affected by this tragedy and the international efforts to provide relief and assistance.

The quake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, killing more than 11,000 people, making it the deadliest quake worldwide in more than a decade. In Turkey, the death toll has surpassed 8,500, while in Syria, the death toll has climbed past 1,200 in government-held areas and at least 1,400 in rebel-held northwest. With thousands of buildings toppled, it is not clear how many people might still be trapped underneath the rubble.

Search teams from more than two dozen countries have joined tens of thousands of local emergency personnel, and aid pledges have poured in from around the world. But the scale of destruction is so immense that many are still waiting for help. In Malatya, bodies were placed side by side on the ground, covered in blankets, while rescuers waited for funeral vehicles to pick them up. There is a shortage of rescuers in the area and the cold is hampering rescue efforts by volunteers and government teams.

Amid the despair, there have been some uplifting stories of survival. In the Turkish city of Kahramanmaras, rescuers pulled a 3-year-old boy, Arif Kaan, from beneath the rubble of a collapsed apartment building. In Adiyaman, rescuers pulled 10-year-old Betul Edis from the rubble of her home. In a northwestern Syrian town, residents found a crying newborn still connected by the umbilical cord to her deceased mother.

Pope Francis has asked for prayers and demonstrations of solidarity following the “devastating” earthquake, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has toured a “tent city” in Kahramanmaras and vowed that no one would “be left in the streets.”

The stories of tragedy and hope coming out of Turkey and Syria are heartbreaking and inspiring. As the world continues to respond to this devastating disaster, we must remember the courage and resilience of those affected and the international community’s commitment to providing aid and assistance.