Earthquakes: Turkey restricts research to the two most affected provinces

Turkey decided on Sunday, February 19, thirteen days after the earthquakes of February 6, to stop research except in the two most affected provinces, Kahramanmaras and Hatay, announced the government relief agency (Afad). “In many provinces the research efforts are over”said Yunus Sezer, the boss of Afad.

In the provinces of Kahramanmaras and Hatay, research continues “in about forty buildings”, says Afad. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that devastated the south of the country and Syria killed nearly 45,000 people, including 40,689 in Turkey, according to the latest official report from Afad.

More than 24 hours without rescue

No new survivors have been cleared from the ruins for more than 24 hours after the rescue of a couple in Antakya, capital of Hatay province, on Saturday, 296 hours after the quake. In the past three days, seven people have been pulled alive from the rubble, all in Antakya, including the couple’s child who died shortly after being rescued.

In the province of Kahramanmaras, where the epicenter was located, the chances of survival appeared to be slimmer than in Hatay due to the cold which reached -15°C at night in snowy areas such as Elbistan, noted AFP teams.

In a message broadcast via Twitter, Afad asks the victims not to try to enter the damaged buildings to recover goods there, “even briefly”. She also announces that “applications for housing assistance” are now open for those who have lost their homes.

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