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Erdoğan imposes three-month state of emergency as death toll passes 5,200

Erdoğan imposes three-month state of emergency as death toll passes 5,200

More than 8,000 people so far have been pulled from the debris in Türkiye said Turkish vice-president Fuat Oktay. About 380,000 people have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, with others huddling in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centres.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said 13 million of the country’s 85 million were affected in some way – and has declared a state of emergency in 10 provinces in order to manage the response. Turkey said it would only allow vehicles carrying aid to enter the worst-hit provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Adiyaman and Hatay in order to speed the effort.

Erdoğan said on Tuesday that 70 countries had offered help in search and rescue operations and that Türkiye planned to open up hotels in the tourism hub of Antalya, to the west, to temporarily house people affected.

He said the death toll in Turkey had risen to 3,549 people, raising the combined death toll in Türkiye.

In Syria, two figures have been released – one for government-controlled areas and another for opposition-held regions.

A total of 812 people have died in government areas and 900 have died in rebel-held areas.

There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with WHO officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died.

WHO warned that up to 23 million people could be affected by the massive earthquake and urged nations to rush help to the disaster zone.

Türkiye has large numbers of troops in the border region with Syria and has tasked the military to aid in the rescue efforts, including setting up tents for the homeless and a field hospital in Hatay province. Defence minister Hulusi Akar said a humanitarian aid brigade based in Ankara and eight military search and rescue teams had also been deployed.

The quakes, which took place nine hours apart and measured 7.8 in Türkiye and 7.5 in Syria on the Richter scale, destroyed at least 6,000 buildings, many while people were still inside them. Rescue efforts are continuing — The Turkish government has said a total of 53,317 search and rescue staff and support personnel currently are working in the earthquake zone so far — and countries around the world have pledged aid, but emergency workers in both countries say they are completely overwhelmed.

The quake affected provinces of southern Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Adıyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis and Malatya and southeastern Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, and Gaziantep, according to Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) with more than 285 aftershocks have struck since the quakes.

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