By Lizzy Okoji
Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Ismail Yusuf, says no Nigerian is recorded among casualties of the earthquake that hit some cities in Turkey.
Yusuf said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday.
According to him, the Embassy is on alert to know the state of every registered Nigerian in the country.
NAN reports that in the early hours of Feb. 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit some cities in South-eastern Turkey.
President Recep Erdogan said the earthquake was the worst disaster the country had experienced in 84 years.
Yusuf said rescue efforts were ongoing and there had been no report of any Nigerian casualty living in the affected region as at the time of speaking to NAN.
“Early morning on Monday at 4.17 a.m. local time, Turkiye was hit by 6.5 to 7.8 magnitude earthquakes across the cities of Malatya, Sanliurfa, Osmaniye, Diyarbakir and Gaziantep.
“We have no information of any Nigeria amongst the victims so far.
“This is work in progress. We are doing the best we can in the circumstance. Rescue efforts are progressing systematically, and in stages.
“It is too early to provide any specifics on the outcome of rescue and related matters, including census because the seven affected cities are mostly in ruins and many people are still trapped in several buildings.
“Furthermore, the rescue efforts are being slowed down by the seething winter, with snow everywhere,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf said President Muhammadu Buhari had commiserated with the government and people of Turkey, pledging Nigeria’s support and solidarity.
NAN reports that the government of Turkey had declared national emergency in the country, soliciting international aid and humanitarian assistance.
Over 3,400 people have been killed in the quake in Turkey, thousands injured, with rescue operations still ongoing.
While over 2,000 people have also been reported dead in Syria, which was also hit by the quake. (NAN)