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Turkey, Syria earthquake disaster is the world’s deadliest in over a decade

The latest death tolls published by officials mean Monday’s earthquakes have now passed a grim milestone: With more than 9,000 dead, the event is now the deadliest earthquake disaster to strike anywhere on Earth in more than a decade.

It is the deadliest such catastrophe since 2011 when a 9.0-magnitude quake off the east coast of Japan killed more than 18,000 people after triggering a 23-foot tsunami and damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The Japanese disaster came a year after the deadliest earthquake recorded this century, in Haiti, where a 7.0-magnitude quake struck near the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed more than 220,000 people.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said at a news conference that nearly 7,500 soldiers have already been deployed to the disaster zone and an additional 1,500 are set to join them.

More than 60,000 emergency officials are working in the disaster zone, including several thousand rescue workers from abroad, according to Anadolu, the state-run news agency.

On Wednesday, a South Korean air force plane arrived at Gaziantep — the epicenter of the strongest quake measuring 7.8 magnitude — to deliver humanitarian aid. Dozens of countries have offered assistance, from search teams and supplies to financial aid.