Death toll from Turkey’s earthquake rises to 36

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The death toll from Friday’s powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey rose to 36, the country’s vice president said on Jan. 26.

Fuat Oktay was speaking to reporters in the capital Ankara.

So far, 1,547 people have been reported injured as rescue workers continue recovering victims buried under the rubble, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

A total of 45 people have been rescued including a woman, 17 hours after her house collapsed.

AFAD said rescue work continues with more than 3,433 personnel with hundreds of vehicles and 17 sniffer dogs in the region.

A team of surveyors is assessing the damage caused by the earthquake, with initial reports suggesting 76 buildings were demolished while 42 damaged and 425 with minor damages.

The magnitude 6.8 quake late on Jan. 24 shook Elazığ province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of the capital Ankara, and was followed by more than 390 aftershocks, 14 of which had magnitudes over 4.

Tremors were also felt in neighboring countries including Syria and Georgia.

More than 530 aftershocks were felt in the region with nine above a 4.0-magnitude.

Earlier on Jan. 25, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the region and attended the funeral of two victims.

“We have borne many earthquakes but the nation has risen above them patiently,” said Erdoğan, asking citizens to exercise strength in their weakest hour.

Erdoğan also stressed that the state has been running to the needs of its citizens with all its institutions and facilities since the earthquake.

“Turkey is healing the wounds of this great disaster in unity, togetherness and solidarity,” he told reporters on Jan. 26 before departing for Algeria.

Reminding that the interior, health, environment, and urbanization ministers immediately went to the region to supervise the works, Erdoğan said, “All kinds of personnel, tools, equipment, and equipment needed were delivered to the earthquake area in a very short time. All necessary precautions regarding the food and the maintenance of our citizens were taken rapidly.”

Condolences continued to pour in to Turkey after at least 35 victims lost their lives and more than 1,500 others were injured in a powerful earthquake.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction to property in the wake of an earthquake in Elazığ province and said the UN expresses solidarity with Turkey and offered support.

“[Russian President] Vladimir Putin sent heartfelt condolences to President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over the loss of life and large-scale destruction caused by an earthquake in the Elazığ province,” read a statement by Kremlin.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their families. We are in solidarity and ready to support.”

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences to the victims of the quake and offered her country’s support in the relief and rescue efforts.

Turkey has a history of powerful earthquakes. More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6 magnitude quake struck the western city of Izmit, 90 km (55 miles) southeast of Istanbul. About 500,000 people were made homeless.

In 2011, an earthquake struck the eastern city of Van and the town of Erciş, some 100 km (60 miles) to the north, killing at least 523 people.

Hurriyet Daily News

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