Media reports say the death toll from the Turkiye-Syria earthquakes has exceeded 41,000 so far.  The disaster has ravaged cities in both countries, leaving many survivors homeless in near-freezing winter temperatures.  U.N. authorities have said the rescue phase is coming to a close, with the focus turning to shelter, food and schooling.

Reuters says the death toll in Turkiye has reached 35,418 and more than 5,800 people have died in Syria.  

CNBC reports that U.N. authorities have said the rescue phase is coming to a close, with the focus turning to shelter, food and schooling.

Meanwhile, nine survivors were rescued from the rubble in Turkey yesterday, eight days after a massive earthquake struck, as the focus of the aid effort shifted to helping people now struggling without shelter or enough food in the bitter cold.

CNBC says those rescued on Tuesday included two brothers, aged 17 and 21, pulled from the rubble of an apartment block in Kahramanmaras province, and a Syrian man and young woman in a leopard-print headscarf in Antakya rescued after over 200 hours in the rubble. 

According to CNBC, more than 2.2 million people have left the worst-hit areas already and hundreds of thousands of buildings have become uninhabitable in Turkiye.

Meanwhile, UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said on Monday that he expects the death toll to at least reach 50,000, after he arrived in southern Turkey on Saturday to assess the quake's damage.

"The rescue phase is dragging live people out from the rubble and finding those who died in the rubble... that's coming to a close," said he.  "Now the humanitarian phase, the urgency of providing shelter, psychosocial care, food, schooling, and a sense of the future for these people, that's our obligation now."

More than seven million children have been affected by the massive earthquake and a major aftershock that devastated Turkiye and Syria last week, the United Nations has said, voicing fear that “many thousands” more had died.

Deutsche Welle (DW) reports that a German expert and relief worker has warned that the danger of disease is growing in quake-struck areas.

"In regions where people have no access to clean drinking water, there is a risk of epidemics at some point," said Thomas Geiner, a doctor with earthquake experience who is part of a rescue team from Germany's NAVIS aid organization.

Bodies trapped under rubble could contaminate the water supply, he warned, noting that the lack of toilets was also a concern.