At least 40,640 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye

At least 40,640 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye
# 19 February 2023 17:06 (UTC +04:00)

At least 40,642 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, the country’s disaster management agency said on Saturday, APA reports.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of less than 10 hours.

The quakes were followed by over 5,700 aftershocks, Yunus Sezer, head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), told reporters.

“Search and rescue efforts will be largely completed as of Sunday evening,” Sezer said.

A total of 11,488 international search and rescue units from 80 countries have come to the disaster zone to provide support, Sezer said.

He said that the cash aid of 10,000 Turkish liras ($531) has been made to more than 682,000 citizens.

Noting that evacuations from the earthquake zone to other provinces continued, Sezer said: "More than 430,000 people have so far been evacuated.”

“We are currently hosting 313,720 victims in public guesthouses, hotels and other accommodation facilities," he added.

In a press briefing, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said: "Currently, a total of 181,423 people, including 76,097 security personnel, 64,728 gendarmes, and 41,149 members of Turkish Armed Forces are operating on the ground."

Oktay said that damage assessments were made in 830,806 buildings in the earthquake zone.

He noted that 105,000 of these buildings were found to be demolished, about to be demolished, or severely damaged.

Oktay stressed that the restoration of cultural assets is among the priorities of the government after the quakes, saying: "Our goal is to complete the examination of these assets within the next week.”

"A total of 433 artifacts have been examined so far. Among them, 121 were severely damaged, 66 moderately damaged, and 57 slightly damaged, while there was no damage in 189 of them," Oktay added.

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