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Türkiye is recovering from the devastating earthquake disaster

10 March 2023 Issue: Year 2023
Türkiye is recovering from the devastating earthquake disaster

Türkiye was shaken by two earth- quakes on February 6, 2023. AFAD announced the magni- tudes of the two earthquakes on February 6 as 7.7 and 7.6 and their depths as 8.6 and 7 km. According to the US Geological Agency (USGS) data, seven different large and medium-large earthquakes, the smallest of which was 5.7, occurred with- in 11 hours from 04.17 on February 6, when the first earthquake occurred. Therefore, it is possible to talk about a chain of earthquakes in the region, especially on the first day.

Türkiye is still recovering from the disaster, but the scale of the devastation in 11 provinces is quite large. Therefore, we can say that the region’s economic and social recovery process will continue for several years.

Louisa Vinton, Resident Representative of the United Nations (UN) Development Program (UNDP) in Türkiye, said that the cost of the earthquakes to Türkiye is estimated to be more than $100 billion. Speaking on March 16 in Brussels ahead of a donor conference for earthquake victims, Vinton said, “It is clear from the calculations made to date, and what the government has presented and what international partners have verified, that the damage will exceed $100 billion.” This is equiva-ent to 11.6 percent of Türkiye’s gross domestic product (GDP) for 2021. Vinton, who attended the meeting via video from Gaziantep, said this figure only covers Türkiye for now. Vinton described Hatay, one of the hardest-hit provinces in Türkiye, as a “scene of doom”.

On March 6, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the death toll from the February 6 earthquake in Kahramanmaraş had risen to 46,104. “The number of collapsed, emergency collapse and heavily damaged buildings in our 11 cities in the earthquake zone reaches 230,000 and the number of independent sections in these buildings reaches 645,000,” Erdoğan said. The number of people staying in tents was announced as 1 million 440 thousand.

The earthquake not only showed us the mistakes we made, but also taught us lessons that have been paid dearly. It is the greatest wish of all of us that our country never repeats its mistakes again. New constructions in the region will be built with great care, taking into account the earthquake reality. Many municipalities outside the disaster zone have created emergency action plans and started to take measures quickly against possible new disasters. Durability tests of existing buildings and retrofitting-evacuation works are continuing at full speed. In the process, countries from all over the world rushed to help. The teams who returned to their countries with tears in their eyes told that people who had lost everything were carrying food and tea to them. All the teams that came to support and help us in this great disaster, all the aid sent, all the means mobilized and all the people who hugged each other in the disaster area without discriminating language, religion and nation reminded each of us that all the peoples of the world are brothers and sisters and that love is the strongest medicine. We thank everyone and hope that such a disater will never happen again anywhere in the world.

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