Death toll from Türkiye's devastating earthquakes surpasses 40,000 - M5 Dergi
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Death toll from Türkiye’s devastating earthquakes surpasses 40,000

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The death toll from two devastating earthquakes that ravaged southeastern Türkiye on Feb. 6 has risen to 40,689, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) reported

Türkiye has completed search and rescue work in earthquake zones, except in southern Kahramanmaraş, Hatay provinces, AFAD Director Yunus Sezer said in a press conference.

Minister of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change Murat Kurum had announced on Friday that a total of 84,726 buildings were damaged in the Feb. 6 earthquakes, which wreaked havoc in 10 provinces in Türkiye’s south.

Kurum said crews from his ministry examined 684,000 buildings in the earthquake-hit provinces so far and said 84,726 buildings were found to be either collapsed, heavily damaged or in immediate need of demolition.

He added that they deployed more than 7,300 personnel in provinces to examine the damage and in Adana alone, 148 buildings were in this category. He urged locals to stay away from heavily damaged buildings due to the risk of collapse, even if they might want to retrieve their possessions.

Earlier, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that they would start the rebuilding of new residences in March and aimed to complete the construction within one year. Kurum told reporters that simultaneous public tenders will be held in early March and the country’s housing development authority TOKI would oversee the construction.

He pointed out that more than 1.1 million residences built by the authority stood strong despite earthquakes, and their newly constructed buildings will be as sturdy as well. “We are looking for the best ground and best location for prevention of destruction in possible future earthquakes,” he said.

Though the latest earthquakes are dubbed the “disaster of the century” due to their sheer scale and unusually high death toll, earthquakes are nothing out of the ordinary with thousands of tremors taking place all over the country. Most of Türkiye is located on the Anatolian tectonic plate, which sits between two major plates, the Eurasian and African, and a minor one, the Arabian. As the larger African and Arabian plates shift, Türkiye is literally being squeezed, while the Eurasian plate impedes any northward movement. Thus, Türkiye sits on several fault lines.

The most potentially devastating fault line in the country is the North Anatolian fault line (NAF), where the Anatolian and Eurasian plates meet. It runs from just south of Istanbul all the way to northeastern Türkiye. The NAF has produced devastating earthquakes throughout history.

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