Prayers for missing Turkish Cypriot students

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President Nicos Anastasiades and the United Nations in Cyprus have sent their prayers and wished for Turkish Cypriot students still missing after the killer earthquakes in Turkey to be found.

Turkish Cypriot children were on a school trip in Turkey when the devastating earthquake struck on Monday and are still missing.

A group of volleyball student-athletes were in Adıyaman to participate in a sports event when the hotel they were staying in collapsed.

“Our hearts and thoughts are with the families & friends of the 31 Turkish Cypriot students, teachers and parents who remain missing in Turkey following the devastating earthquakes,” the UN in Cyprus Tweeted.

It said they stand in solidarity with the Turkish Cypriots at this challenging time.

“And we hope & pray for the safe return of all Turkish Cypriots still missing.

“We also express our sincere condolences for those who sadly perished and wish a speedy recovery for people who have been injured.

“The UN stands ready to support emergency response efforts.”

House speaker Annita Demetriou said thoughts and prayers are with the victims and the missing children.

“Our thoughts and wishes are with the people who lost their lives, those who suffer and have been affected by the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

“With the children of the Turkish Cypriots and those who accompany them and who are missing.

“We feel the agony of their beloved ones. Loss and pain have no borders,”

President Anastasiades also voiced concern for the Turkish Cypriot students, parents and teachers who are still missing in Turkey.

He Tweeted: “We reiterate our readiness to contribute and offer our assistance to the humanitarian, rescue and recovery efforts currently taking place.”

Death toll

Over 5,000 people have been killed after two powerful earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria within the space of 12 hours.

At least 3,549 have died in Turkey, while the Syria toll stands at about 1,600; more than 24,000 people are involved in search and rescue.

The death toll is expected to rise, with search and rescue operations underway across the region as many buildings have collapsed, and there are thought to be many people trapped in the rubble.

More than 10 search-and-rescue teams from the European Union had been mobilised since the earthquake.

The US, UK, Canada, Israel, Russia and China were among other nations to have offered assistance, and calls have emerged for the international community to relax some of the political restrictions on aid entering north-west Syria, the country’s last rebel-held enclave and one of the areas worst hit by the earthquake.