Rescue efforts end in quake zone except for two provinces

Rescue efforts end in quake zone except for two provinces

Rescue efforts end in quake zone except for two provinces

Search and rescue operations have been terminated in nine quake-hit provinces, while efforts will continue for a few more days in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay, Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) head Yunus Sezer has said.

At least 41,156 people lost their lives following 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that rocked the country’s south on Feb. 6, AFAD announced.

Late on Feb. 19, rescue operations ended in nine of the 11 provinces listed as an earthquake disaster area, and the debris removal efforts have gained momentum in these regions.

On the other hand, in Kahramanmaraş, the epicenter of the quakes and in Hatay, where the most severe destruction occurred, rescue efforts will continue for a while.

“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, who saved from the debris of a collapsed building in Hatay on Feb. 19. The boy later lost his life.

21,000 people died in Hatay: Mayor

Meanwhile, providing information regarding the aftermath in the most damaged province in the quake, Hatay Mayor Lütfü Savaş stated that his province suffered around 21,000 deaths in the earthquakes, more than half of the total number of the confirmed fatalities.

“At least 80 percent of the buildings must be demolished in Antakya,” Savaş said.

Having a unique place in the history of religion, the Antakya district has hosted several historical buildings and ruins of the ancient city of Antioch.

Savaş added that there were 24,000 injured people across the province, which lies between Syria and the Mediterranean Sea.

Though the devastating quakes also rattled the neighboring country of Syria, the United Nations recently stated it may take time to determine the full scope of the deaths in Syria.

More than 6,000 aftershocks occurred so far

The disaster management agency stated that some 6,040 aftershocks hit the 11 provinces in the days following the initial quake.

Orhan Tatar, general manager of the agency, also stated that 40 aftershocks were of a 5 to 6 magnitude, while one was recorded at 6.6.

The initial quake was measured with a magnitude of 7.7 and was followed nine hours later by a 7.6 magnitude tremor.

“It is extremely important to stay away from damaged buildings and not enter them,” he said in a televised news briefing in the capital Ankara.

He also warned of “secondary disasters” such as landslides and rockfalls.

Some 105,794 buildings checked by the Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Ministry are either destroyed or severely damaged and need to be demolished urgently.

The damaged or destroyed buildings contained more than 384,500 units, mostly residential apartments.