It remains unclear if South Africans are among the nearly 3 000 people who have been killed in Turkey in the earthquakes near the Turkey-Syria border, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has said.
The earthquakes – the strongest of which had a 7.8 magnitude – hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, leaving many displaced and injured. The confirmed death toll across the two countries has soared to more than 4 300 after a swarm of strong tremors near the Turkey-Syria border, AFP has reported.
Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the department had not received information about South African casualties in Turkey.
Aid organisation the Gift of the Givers said it would deploy its team to help with search-and-rescue efforts in Turkey. It said it expected the death toll in Turkey and Syria to increase as the search continued.
FOLLOW IT LIVE | The latest developments on the Syria-Turkey earthquake
The organisation said Turkish Ambassador to South Africa Aysegul Kandas and Consul-General Sinan Yesildag in Cape Town asked for its assistance. The aid organisation said its team was on standby and would be ready to fly out on Tuesday.
"Medical supplies, equipment, consumables, tents, blankets, food and other humanitarian aid will be purchased in Turkey. We are expanding our volunteer medical, search and rescue teams," it said.
News24 reported earlier that the earthquake was the strongest earthquake to hit Turkey since 1939.