Newcastle United are anxiously awaiting news of former midfielder Christian Atsu amid reports that he has been trapped in the earthquakes which hit Turkey and Syria on Monday.
The 31-year-old Ghana international, now playing football with Turkish Super Lig side Hatayspor, is reportedly missing after teammates and members of the club’s technical staff were pulled from rubble.
A post on the club’s official Twitter account said: “Praying for some positive news, @ChristianAtsu20.”
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria during the early hours of Monday morning, followed by a second of 7.5.
More than 2,300 people are believed to have died in the border region, with rescue teams searching for survivors.
Nearly 1,500 people were killed in ten Turkish provinces, with some 8,500 injured, according to the president of the country’s disaster management agency.
The death toll in government-held areas of Syria climbed past 430 people, with some 1,280 injured, according to the health ministry.
In the country’s rebel-held north-west, groups that operate there said the death toll was at least 380, with many hundreds more injured.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her thoughts “are with people in Syria and Turkey” after the “devastating” incident.
UK foreign secretary James Cleverly said the government would be “sending immediate support”, with a team of 76 search and rescue specialists, equipment and four search dogs being sent to Turkey.
PM Rishi Sunak tweeted: “My thoughts are with the people of Turkiye and Syria this morning, particularly with those first responders working so valiantly to save those trapped by the earthquake.
“The UK stands ready to help in whatever way we can.”
Atsu was part of the Magpies team which won promotion back to the Premier League in 2017 after joining on loan for the season from Chelsea, and later completed a permanent move.
The winger, who scored deep into stoppage time on Sunday to secure a 1-0 win over Kasimpasa, left St James’ Park during the summer of 2021 after making 121 appearances for the club.