Turkey ends quake rescue efforts except in two provinces: official

Sezer said search and rescue efforts continued at around 40 buildings in the provinces on the 14th day but expected the number to fall by late Sunday.

Updated - February 26, 2023 08:14 am IST

Published - February 19, 2023 09:49 pm IST - Istanbul

Rescue workers pass by in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey.

Rescue workers pass by in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake in Kahramanmaras, Turkey. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Turkey has ended rescue efforts in all provinces except the two hardest hit by last week’s massive quake that killed tens of thousands of people, the Turkish disaster agency said Sunday.

“In many of our provinces, search and rescue efforts have been completed. They continue in Kahramanmaras and Hatay provinces,” the agency’s chief Yunus Sezer told reporters in Ankara.

The epicentre of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6 was in Pazarcik district in Kahramanmaras. The tremor hit 11 Turkish southeastern provinces in total.

Sezer said search and rescue efforts continued at around 40 buildings in the provinces on the 14th day but expected the number to fall by late Sunday.

There had been abundant coverage of rescue teams finding survivors but it has now slowed down, with no survivors found in at least 24 hours.

On Saturday, rescuers found a man and a woman alive in the 296th hour in the southern Turkish city of Antakya but their three children did not survive, local media said.

That came after four people including a 14-year-old boy were rescued Thursday and Friday.

Death toll

The disaster agency head also said Turkey’s death toll had risen to 40,689 . The total death toll including Syria is now 44,377.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Saturday that some 105,000 buildings either collapsed, needed to be demolished or were severely damaged in the quake.

In a message on Twitter, the disaster agency urged quake victims not to enter severely damaged buildings, “even briefly”, to get their belongings inside.

The government has not given an exact number for how many people have been left homeless.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan however said Tuesday around 2.2 million have been evacuated or left the provinces affected.

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