Over 39,000 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in southern Türkiye

Earthquake Turkiye

ANKARA : At least 39,672 people were killed by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Feb. 6, the country’s interior minister said Friday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes were centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa. More than 13 million people have been affected by the devastating quakes.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of less than 10 hours.

Saying that the priority of the earthquake response is search and rescue, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu added in a televised interview said search and rescue efforts are continuing at over 20,000 collapsed buildings.

“Our preparations were for (a possible) Istanbul earthquake. But the Kahramanmaras fault line was also one of the important areas for us,” he said.

Over 264,000 personnel are currently working in the field, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said in an earlier statement.

Condolences have poured in from around the world expressing solidarity with Türkiye, with many countries sending rescue teams and aid.

A total of 5,377 foreign personnel from 65 nations are currently working in the disaster zone, the country’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday.

He also said that 102 countries have offered assistance so far, and 23 countries have returned after completing their efforts.

On tents sent from abroad, Cavusoglu said at least 70,000 of them arrived and nearly 55,000 additional tents are awaiting shipment.

Shelters for victims

Besides rescue teams, blankets, tents, food, and psychological support teams along with over 12,600 vehicles, including excavators, tractors and bulldozers, were also sent to the affected areas.

Nearly 387,000 tents and 3.28 million blankets have been sent to the quake-hit zone, said AFAD.

​After the initial earthquake, an air bridge was established by the Turkish Armed Forces to deliver relief supplies and search and rescue teams to the region.

A large fleet of aircraft, including A-400Ms, carried search and rescue teams and vehicles to the region. Ambulance planes are also using the air bridge.

Rescue and relief personnel and materials were sent to the region with 121 helicopters and 78 aircraft, AFAD said.

A total of 26 ships were also assigned to the region for personnel and material shipment and for evacuation.

Türkiye doing its best to heal wounds

National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the Turkish Armed Forces has continued to take all necessary measures right since the quakes’ immediate aftermath.

“Today, above all, is a day of unity and solidarity. We will all do our best to heal these wounds,” Akar said at a helicopter coordination center in Adana.

On an air bridge established by the Turkish military to deliver relief supplies and search and rescue teams to the region, Akar said: “A total of 2,602 sorties were carried out with 65 aircraft, 66 helicopters and 41 UAVs/UCAVs, together with aircraft and helicopters commissioned by the US, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the UK, Qatar, and Norway.”

He added that aid has been delivered to 32 districts and 152 villages via these flights so far.

Search and rescue continuing

In a separate press briefing, Vice President Fuat Oktay dismissed claims that search and rescue efforts are being halted and said: “We will never allow such things to happen.”

Oktay said over 374,000 people were evacuated from the earthquake-struck region via evacuation centers and airlines.

“Currently, the number of unaccompanied children is 1,589, and 953 of them have been united with their families,” he added.

Separately, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Murat Kurum said 3.9 million independent sections from earthquake data have been examined and 684,000 buildings have been examined.

“In this context, we have determined that 332,942 independent sections are heavily damaged and destroyed (structures),” he added.

Agriculture and Forestry Minister Vahit Kirisci said: “There is no shortage of food. Our agricultural production must not be interrupted. We are working hard to keep the population in the countryside.” — AA


  1. Sad, very sad. Everybody’s heart bleeds in this time of tragedy in Turkiye.

    I wonder why MM is NOT mentioning a word about what happened in Syria? Is it because it is not part of the Sunne community?


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