Turkey and Syria earthquakes: New Zealand preparing to send experts, health specialists

The New Zealand Government and aid agencies are preparing to send experts and health specialists to Turkey and Syria.

The earthquakes there are set to become one of the biggest humanitarian disasters in recent history.

Almost 8000 people have been killed and tens of thousands of others injured by the devastating earthquake that rocked both countries on Monday.

Massive rescue efforts are underway with the global community offering assistance in search and recovery operations.

Meanwhile, agencies have warned that fatalities from the disaster could climb higher. 

New Zealand Red Cross international director Vivienne Euini said over 8000 people have died so far and she expects that death toll to increase significantly. 

"We know that over 6000 buildings have been demolished and that's caused a huge issue with shelter," she said.

Agencies on the ground have told New Zealand that we aren't needed for search and rescue, with plenty of people pouring in from neighbouring countries, but that "our expertise will be needed soon."

"The area where they may call on us for support is in some of the more specialist and technical areas, particularly around coordination and leadership," New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins said on Wednesday.

"We're in conversations about what support they actually need so that if we are sending support it can be what they most want."

The Government has sent $1.5 million in aid through the Red Cross.

The charity launched its own appeal on Wednesday and is readying its own experts to join the second wave of the aid effort.

Euini said they have delegates who are ready to go but are waiting to understand from the federation what areas of expertise are required.

"For example, do they need health delegates, do they need shelter or logistics delegates," she said.

A survivor of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, Angela Kearney, works for UNICEF in Syria, in the city of Aleppo, where buildings already damaged by the recent war continue to fall.

"They need clothes, they need food, they need medicine, they need clean water, they need milk, they need everything, they've left their huge, these are massive apartment buildings in a city like this," Kearney said.