By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - US lawmakers offered their condolences on Monday to Türkiye and Syria as the death toll continues to mount following a series of major earthquakes that decimated the region.
"My heart is with the people of Turkïye and Syria affected by the devastating earthquakes, which have caused unimaginable suffering and loss. The United States stands ready to help in recovery efforts," Democratic Sen. Cory Booker said on Twitter.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer added: "We’re praying for all those lost to this earthquake, and we stand ready to offer help."
"Our hearts go out to the people of Turkey & Syria who were impacted by devastating earthquakes & condolences to those who lost family, friends, & loved ones," Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed said. "The U.S. and international community stand ready to assist hard hit areas with search, rescue & emergency aid."
Sen. Chris Van Hollen expressed condolences to "all who have lost loved ones in this devastating earthquake and the United States stands ready to deploy emergency assistance to help all those in need."
Across the aisle, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said "The world is grieving with the people of Turkey and Syria following this devastating earthquake."
"Praying for all who are mourning and working to rescue survivors. We stand with our NATO ally Turkey and with the Syrian people who already suffer daily under the Assad regime," he said.
The death toll from massive earthquakes in southern Türkiye has risen to 1,541 with 9,733 others wounded, according to Vice President Fuat Oktay.
Early Monday morning, a 7.7 magnitude quake centered in the Pazarcik district jolted Kahramanmaras province and heavily affected several other provinces, including Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Malatya, Osmaniye, Hatay, and Kilis.
It was followed by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake at 13.24 p.m. (1024GMT) that was also centered in Kahramanmaras, in the district of Elbistan.
Yunus Sezer, head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), said a total of 105 aftershocks occurred and 2,824 buildings collapsed since the initial tremor.
In the House of Representatives, lawmakers echoed their colleagues in the Senate, with Representative Brad Schneider saying his "thoughts and prayers are with Turkey and Syria this morning after more than 1800 were killed in a pre-dawn earthquake."
"I will do everything I can to support search, rescue, and general assistance in the wake of this tragedy," the Democrat from Illinois said.
"Praying for Turkey and other countries suffering through deadly earthquakes. Thousands are feared dead," said Representative Marjorie Taylor-Greene.
"Over 2,200 people died and many more were injured after powerful earthquakes shook Turkey and Syria. With people still trapped under buildings, the death toll is unfortunately expected to rise," said Representative Ritchie Torres.
"The US should and must do everything we can to aid the recovery of those affected," he added.