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Turkey declares three-month state of emergency

Turkey declares three-month state of emergency

Ten provinces devastated by Monday's earthquakes to be placed under emergency rule, President Erdogan says
More than 3,500 people have been confirmed dead after two earthquakes struck Turkey on Monday
More than 3,500 people have been confirmed dead after two earthquakes struck Turkey on Monday
Photo credit: AFP

Turkey has declared a three-month state of emergency in areas struck by two massive earthquakes earlier this week, allowing the government more leeway for rescue and reconstruction efforts.

Emergency teams are racing against the clock to save potentially thousands of victims trapped in rubble after ten Turkish cities were struck on Monday.

The death toll across Turkey and neighbouring Syria has topped 5,000, while more than 11,000 buildings have been damaged from the tremors, trapping many inside in freezing temperatures.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is overwhelmed by the extent of the logistical problems and aid needed to assist the 13.4 million people living in the areas affected by the disaster. Many countries have pledged to help, including the US.

The twin earthquakes had magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6, striking Turkey’s southeast and causing widespread destruction there and in neighbouring Syria. Roads and airports were damaged, while crude-oil flows to a key export terminal were halted for more than 24 hours as a precaution.

Turkey’s President Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in ten provinces to cope with the aftermath of the twin earthquakes.

Emergency rule, which needs to be approved by parliament, would enable the government to take extraordinary security and financial measures in the stricken areas.

Turkey’s number of fatalities rose to 3,549, with more than 20,000 injured, according to Erdogan. In Syria, almost 1,600 have been confirmed dead, according to the Associated Press, including both government-and rebel-held areas.

Turkey said it deployed a total of 24,443 rescue workers, 10 ships and more than 50 airplanes to pull victims out of damaged buildings and evacuate some of the injured from the disaster zone.

Rescue teams from Romania, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Lebanon have already been deployed in the quake zone, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said, as part of a broad international effort to quickly respond to the crisis. Many other countries have also offered help. 

The European Union has sent more than 1,150 rescue workers, along with some 70 dogs, in response to the quake. The teams come from 19 European countries, according to the EU Commission.

(Additional reporting by Firat Kozok, Beril Akman, Ugur Yilmaz, Taylan Bilgic, Inci Ozbek and Gina Turner)

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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