- ASSOCIATED PRESS
Key Developments in the Aftermath of the Turkey, Syria Quake
14:54 JST, February 21, 2023
ISTANBUL (AP) — As the search and rescue effort for buried survivors of the Feb. 6 earthquake started to wind down in Turkey, demolition teams have moved in to clear the mounds of rubble left by the worst disaster in modern Turkish history.
Here’s a look at the key developments Sunday from the aftermath of the earthquake.
DEATH TOLL IN TURKEY RISES SLIGHTLY
The number of confirmed deaths in Turkey due to the earthquake rose to 41,020 as of Sunday night, according to the national disaster agency AFAD.
Yunus Sezer, the agency’s chairperson, told journalists in Ankara earlier in the day that search and rescue work in nine of the 11 provinces listed as an earthquake disaster area had ended. Rescue operation were ongoing in Kahramanmaras, the site of the epicenter, and Hatay, one of the hardest-hit provinces.
“We continue these efforts every day with the hope of reaching a living brother or sister,” Sezer said.
While rescue operations continue in the two provinces, there were no signs of anyone being dug alive from the rubble since three members of one family — a mother, father and 12-year-old boy — were extracted from a collapsed building in Hatay on Saturday morning. The boy later died.
The new figure takes the combined death toll in Turkey and Syria to 44,708. The U.N. has said the full scope of the deaths in Syria may take time to determine.
HATAY MAYOR SAYS 21,000 DIED IN PROVINCE
The mayor of Hatay says his province suffered around 21,000 deaths in the earthquake, more than half of the total number of the confirmed fatalities in Turkey.
“At least 80% of the buildings must be demolished in Antakya,” Lutfu Savas told broadcaster HaberTurk. Antakya is the capital of Hatay and the site of the ancient city of Antioch.
Savas added that there were 24,000 injured people across the province, which lies between Syria and the Mediterranean Sea.
MORE THAN 6,000 AFTERSHOCKS
Turkey’s disaster management said some 6,040 aftershocks hit the 11 provinces that form the disaster zone declared by the government in the days following the initial quake.
The initial quake was measured with a magnitude of 7.8, and was followed nine hours later by a 7,5 magnitude tremor.
Orhan Tatar, general manager of the agency, AFAD, said 40 aftershocks were of a 5 to 6 magnitude, while one was recorded at 6.6.
“It is extremely important to stay away from damaged buildings and not enter them,” he told a televised news briefing in Ankara.
He also warned of “secondary disasters” such as landslides and rockfalls.
INSPECTIONS FIND OVER 100,000 BADLY DAMAGED BUILDINGS
Some 105,794 buildings checked by Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Ministry are either destroyed or so badly damaged as to require demolition, the ministry said Sunday.
Of these, 20,662 had collapsed, the statement said. The damaged or destroyed buildings contained more than 384,500 units, mostly residential apartments.
The figures were for Turkey and did not cover collapsed and damaged buildings in neighboring Syria.
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