The death toll from a massive earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria rose above 11,200 on Wednesday as rescuers raced to save survivors trapped under debris in the winter cold.
Officials and medics said 8,574 people had died in Turkey and 2,662 in Syria from Monday's 7.8-magnitude tremor, bringing the total to 11,236.
Nearly 50,000 people were also injured in Turkey and another 5,000 in Syria, officials and rescuers on both sides said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave an update on the casualty figures during a visit to Kahramanmaras, a southern Turkish city at the epicentre of the initial quake.
Television images showed him hugging a weeping, elderly woman and walking through a large crowd towards a Red Crescent humanitarian relief tent.
Facing a tough May 14 re-election, Erdogan pledged to rebuild the damaged regions within a year.
He also appeared to push back against criticism that the government's response to Turkey's worst disaster in decades has been slow.
"Initially there were issues at airports and on the roads, but today things are getting easier and tomorrow it will be easier still," he said in televised remarks.
"We have mobilised all our resources," he added. "The state is doing its job."
The first 7.8 magnitude quake occurred at 04:17 am (0117 GMT) at a depth of about 18 kilometres (11 miles) near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which is home to around two million people, the US Geological Survey said.
It was followed by a slightly smaller 7.5 magnitude tremor and dozens of aftershocks.
The quakes devastated entire sections of major cities in Turkey and war-ravaged Syria. The region also hosts millions of people who have fled the civil war in Syria and other conflicts.
The World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that time is running out for the thousands injured and those still feared trapped.
For Mesut Hancer, a resident of the Turkish city Kahramanmaras, near the epicentre, it is already too late.
He sat on the freezing rubble, too grief-stricken to speak, refusing to let go of his 15-year-old daughter Irmak's hand as her body lay lifeless among the slabs of concrete and strands of twisted rebar.
'Children are freezing'
Even for survivors, the future seems bleak.
Many have taken refuge from relentless aftershocks, cold rain and snow in mosques, schools and even bus shelters - burning debris to try to stay warm.
Frustration is growing that help has been slow to arrive.
"I can't get my brother back from the ruins. I can't get my nephew back. Look around here. There is no state official here, for God's sake," said Ali Sagiroglu in Kahramanmaras.
"For two days we haven't seen the state around here... Children are freezing from the cold," he said.
In nearby Gaziantep, shops were closed, there was no heat because gas lines have been cut to avoid explosions, and finding petrol was tough.
Sixty-one-year-old resident Celal Deniz said the police had to intervene when impatient crowds waiting for rescue teams "revolted".
About 100 others wrapped in blankets slept in the lounge of an airport terminal normally used to welcome Turkish politicians and celebrities.
"We saw the buildings collapse so we know we are lucky to be alive," said Zahide Sutcu, who went to the airport with her two small children.
"But now our lives have so much uncertainty. How will I look after these children?"
Across the border in northern Syria, a decade of civil war and Syrian-Russian aerial bombardment had already destroyed hospitals, collapsed the economy and prompted electricity, fuel and water shortages.
In Jindayris, even the joy of rescuing a newborn baby was tainted with sadness.
She was still tethered to her mother who was killed in the disaster.
"We heard a voice while we were digging," Khalil al-Suwadi, a relative, told AFP.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visited southern Turkey on Wednesday to see first-hand the destruction wrought by a massive earthquake as anger grew among local people over what they said was a slow government response to the rescue and relief effort.
Speaking to reporters, with constant ambulance sirens in the background, Erdogan said there had been problems with roads and airports but that everything would get better by the day.
"We cleared the dust and found the baby with the umbilical cord (intact) so we cut it and my cousin took her to hospital."
The infant faces a difficult future as the sole survivor among her immediate family. The rest were buried together in a mass grave on Tuesday.
A famous mosque dating back to the 13th century partially collapsed in the province of Maltaya, where a 14-story building with 28 apartments that housed 92 people collapsed.
Social media posts showed a 2,200-year-old hilltop castle built by Roman armies in Gaziantep lying in ruins, its walls partially turned to rubble.
In Syria, the health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.
The UN's cultural body UNESCO warned that two sites on its World Heritage List, the old city of Syria's Aleppo and the fortress in the southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, had sustained damage and that several others may also have been hit.
It noted that the quake occurred in one of the longest continuously inhabited areas on the planet within the so-called Fertile Crescent, which has witnessed the emergence of different civilisations from the Hittites to the Ottomans.
Dozens of nations including the United States, China and the Gulf States have pledged to help, and search teams as well as relief supplies have begun to arrive by air.
- Emirates Red Crescent calls for participation in 'Bridges of Goodness' campaign in support of quake-ravaged Turkey, Syria
- UNESCO sounds alarm over quake damage to Turkey, Syria heritage
- VIP lounge at the Gaziantep airport becomes quake refuge in stricken Turkish city
- UAE President orders $100 million in aid for earthquake-affected in Syria and Turkey
A winter storm has compounded the misery by rendering many roads - some of them damaged by the quake - almost impassable, resulting in traffic jams that stretch for kilometres in some regions.
The World Health Organization has warned that up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake and urged nations to rush help to the disaster zone.
The Syrian Red Crescent appealed to Western countries to lift sanctions and provide aid as President Bashar al-Assad's government remains a pariah in the West, complicating international relief efforts.
Despite political tensions, both Greece and Sweden have also pledged their support for Turkey.
President Joe Biden promised his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the United States will send "any and all" aid needed.
The World Health Organization said up to 23 million people could be affected by the earthquake and promised long-term assistance.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States would not work with the Damascus government.
"These funds, of course, go to the Syrian people - not to the regime. That won't change," he said.
Aid agencies have also asked the Syrian government to allow border crossings to be reopened to bring help to rebel-held areas.
The Turkey-Syria border is one of the world's most active earthquake zones.
Ambassador Tuncer was briefed on the progress of the UAE's humanitarian shipments provided to the Turkish people. He also lauded the UAE's leadership role as part of the "Gallant Knight" to mitigate the repercussions of the earthquake that struck Turkey and support the affected people.
Monday's earthquake was the largest Turkey has seen since 1939, when 33,000 people died in the eastern Erzincan province.
In 1999, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake killed more than 17,000.
Experts have long warned that a large quake could devastate Istanbul, a megalopolis of 16 million people filled with rickety homes.