TURKEY: Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish President, pledged to quicken rescue work after more than a week of a devastating earthquake that caused serious havoc in the country and neighbouring Syria.
41,000 people have been reported dead in both Turkey and Syria, with survivors suffering through the chilly winter temperatures as they are bereft of homes in cities in both of these countries.
On late Tuesday, following a cabinet meeting that took place in the headquarters of the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), Erdogan said, “We will continue our work until we remove the last citizen left under the collapsed buildings,” adding that assessments would be carried out in a week and reconstruction would commence within months.
Erdogan has been cognizant of the problems in the earlier response to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred early on February 6, but has justified that the situation is under control.
Erdogan said, “We are facing one of the greatest natural disasters not only in our country but also in the history of humanity.”
Hundreds of thousands of buildings have been destroyed, and more than 2.2 million people have been gravely affected by the disaster.
“We will rebuild all the houses and workplaces destroyed or made uninhabitable by the earthquake and hand them over to the rightful owners,” he said.
Approximately 105,000 people have been injured in the quake, and more than 13,000 people are being admitted to hospitals.
The focus of the aid effort has shifted to assisting people grappling with the cold, homeless, and without any food or water.
The World Health Organization’s director for Europe, Hans Hanri P. Kruge, says, “The needs are huge and increasing by the hour,” adding, “There are also growing concerns over emerging health issues linked to the cold weather, hygiene, and sanitation, and the spread of infectious diseases, with vulnerable people especially at risk.”
Erdogan said that the Turkish death toll was 35,418 and more than 5,814 have died in Syria, according to reports.
All those who survived are shocked and have joined a mass exodus from the epicentre and the affected areas, leaving their homes uncertain of when they would return.
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