Turkey Quake Death Toll Surpasses 52,000

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A woman sits in front of a large pile of debris in the city center of Kahramanmaras, southern Turkey, on Sunday.

GAZIANTEP, Turkey — As of Monday, one month has passed since the massive earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria. The combined death toll has exceeded 52,000. In the affected areas of Turkey, debris is now being cleared for reconstruction.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has set a goal of rebuilding the affected areas within a year, and work has begun on constructing homes in some areas.

The earthquake is estimated to have generated 100-200 million tons of debris in Turkey alone. Debris disposal will be critical in achieving a quick reconstruction. In Kahramanmaras and other areas in the south, where many buildings collapsed, the sound of heavy machinery loading debris onto trucks can be heard daily.

Bodies have been found while clearing debris, and an official with Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency said that the death count may increase as the debris clearing process continues.