By Hassan Isilow and Mohammed Dhaysane
JOHANNESBURG (AA) - Leaders of African nations and continental bodies expressed their condolences and solidarity with Türkiye and Syria on Monday after a massive earthquake devastated parts of the two countries.
They included the presidents of South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, Burundi and Gambia.
The continental bodies included the African Union, the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).
"Africa stands in unwavering solidarity and sorrow with the government and people of #Turkiye and #Syria following the devastating earthquake that led to the deaths of more than a thousand innocent people and wreaking terrible infrastructural damage," African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat wrote in a brief statement on Twitter
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his deep sadness over the large-scale loss of life and the extent of the injuries inflicted by the earthquake.
“Our nation and Government are deeply saddened by the unthinkable loss of life in Türkiye and Syria, and by the vast damage to social and economic infrastructure with which the two governments and populations are now confronted,’’ Ramaphosa said in a statement.
He said his heart goes out to the families who have lost loved ones or are searching for relatives. He wished the injured survivors a full recovery.
Ramaphosa also expressed his appreciation to the South African humanitarian aid organization Gift of the Givers, which is joining the international response in Türkiye and Syria.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari pledged to support the two friendly countries in the wake of the earthquake, which has left at least 2,379 people dead and more than 13,290 injured in Türkiye. In Syria, at least 968 were killed and 2,403 others wounded, according to the state-run SANA news agency.
Buhari "wishes those injured a speedy recovery and assures that the prayers and thoughts of Nigerians are with the many affected by this severe disaster and its aftershocks," presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.
Adesina added that the president had assured that Nigeria was ready to offer its "full support in any way possible" to both quake-hit nations.
Macky Sall, the president of Senegal, extended his heartfelt condolences to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following the earthquake.
"Peace to the souls of the victims and speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote on Twitter.
Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud also offered his deepest condolences to the Turkish people and the president.
"On behalf of the Somali People and Government, I offer my deepest condolences to the Turkish people, and President @RTErdogan, due to the earthquake that occurred in Kahramanmaraş and felt in many cities, and wish a speedy recovery to the injured," he wrote.
Gambian President Adama Barrow also condoled with Türkiye and Syria, sending well wishes and prayers for the victims and their families.
Burundi's President Evariste Ndayishimiye also expressed sadness over the numerous deaths, devastation and destruction caused by the earthquake in Türkiye.
"This is one of the most powerful quakes to have hit the region, leading to the tragic loss of life and destruction of property. I assure the brotherly peoples of Turkey and Syria of my great compassion and of the goodwill of the people of Kenya in this time of profound grief," Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua said.
IGAD, a regional block in the Horn of Africa said it is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives and destruction as a result of the earthquake.
The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry also expressed its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives and wished a speedy recovery to the injured "in the tragic calamities."
The East African Community, a block of six countries, also offered its condolences to the governments and peoples of Türkiye and Syria.
*James Tasamba in Kigali, Rwanda; Aurore Bonny in Douala, Cameroon and Olanrewaju Kola in Lagos, Nigeria contributed to this report.