Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday acknowledged that there were ‘shortcomings’ in response to the powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 that hit southern Turkey in the early hours of Monday, devastating cities and killing and injuring thousands, the news agency Associated Press reported. “Of course, there are shortcomings. The conditions are clear to see.
It’s not possible to be ready for a disaster like this”, he said, adding “We will not leave any of our citizens uncared for.” He also hit back at critics, saying “dishonorable people” were spreading “lies and slander” about the government’s actions. “This is a time for unity, solidarity. In a period like this, I cannot stomach people conducting negative campaigns for political interest,” he told reporters.
Here are the latest developments:
Erdogan, who has already declared a 90-day emergency across ten provinces of the country, visited the earthquake epicentre Kahramanmaras where more than 3,300 people died and entire neighborhoods were destroyed.
So far, more than 15,000 people have been killed and thousands more injured as efforts continue for a fourth day in freezing conditions to save those still trapped under rubble.
Officials and medics said 12,391 people had died in Turkey and 2,992 in Syria, bringing the total to 15,383, Anadolu Agency reported citing Turkey’s disaster management agency, AFAD.
In Syria, the health ministry reported damage across the provinces of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Tartus, where Russia is leasing a naval facility.
Turkey said almost 3,000 buildings had collapsed in seven different provinces, including public hospitals.
Seventy countries and 14 international organizations have offered Turkey relief following the earthquake, Turkish President Erdogan said, including the United States, United Kingdom, the UAE, Israel and Russia.
Erdogan declared a three-month emergency state in 10 quake-hit provinces. He also allocated a sum of 100 billion Turkish Liras for rescue and relief efforts.
India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Thursday said the sixth ‘Operation Dost’ flight has reached Turkey. More search and rescue teams, dog squads, essential search and access equipment, medicines, and medical equipment are ready for deployment in the relief efforts, he said.
The other nations that are sending help to Turkey are the UK, the US, Italy, France, Spain, 13 members of the European Union, Russia, Israel, Germany, Austria, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Montenegro, Moldova, Lebanon, Jordan, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, New Zealand, and China.
The Turkish government has imposed restrictions on Twitter across the country in the wake of Monday’s earthquakes. The Turkish authority regularly restricts Twitter access in the wake of disasters and incidents such as bomb attacks, supposedly as a means of countering disinformation.
At least 125 aftershocks, measuring 4 or more, hit the area since the first earthquake of 7.8 magnitude struck Turkey on Monday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that up to 23 million people could be affected by the earthquake.