At least 41,020 people have been killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, the country’s disaster management agency said Sunday.
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 6,210 aftershocks, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said in a statement.
A total of 19,436 local and international search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, AFAD said.
Teams have set up a total of 216,166 tents in the earthquake zone which were dispatched by ministries and relevant institutions as well as other countries and international organizations, it added.
Search and rescue efforts have been completed in the earthquake zone except in Kahramanmaras and Hatay provinces, Yunus Sezer, the head of AFAD, told reporters.
Sezer said search and rescue efforts continued in nearly 40 buildings, while over 6,000 containers have been set up.
Noting that evacuations from the earthquake zone to other provinces are continuing, he said that over 460,900 people have so far been evacuated.
"We are currently hosting 318,970 victims who were evacuated from the quake-hit region in public guesthouses and hotels," he said.
“We continue to house more than 1 million disaster victims in the region in tent cities, container cities, and public guesthouses.”
Sezer said that cash aid of 10,000 Turkish liras ($531) has been given to nearly 800,000 citizens.
Speaking to reporters in Gaziantep province, Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum said inspections at 927,000 buildings consisting of 3,520,000 independent sections in the earthquake zone had been completed.
“We have determined that 412,000 independent sections in 118,000 buildings are demolished, about to be demolished, and severely damaged," said Kurum.
"We will carry out the biggest disaster housing construction campaign in the history of our country in the 11 provinces affected by the earthquakes and will give our citizens the keys to their safe houses," he said.
Builders will be allowed to make 3-4 floors in a building, in addition to the ground floor, while new residences will be planned in line with local and cultural needs, Kurum added.