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Live updates: Erdogan pledges support as new quake jolts Türkiye’s Malatya

Relief efforts in southern Türkiye and northern Syria continue, three weeks after two powerful 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes struck Türkiye’s province of Kahramanmaras, and as a new earthquake struck the country on Monday.

The latest developments come as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Monday that his government will take the necessary steps to prepare cities for future disasters.

The February 6 quakes were followed by at least 9,136 aftershocks, according to the country’s disaster management agency AFAD, as well as a third 6.4 magnitude earthquake, which struck Türkiye’s Hatay province on February 20.

Another 5.6 magnitude quake was also reported on Monday in Türkiye’s eastern Malatya province killing at least one person.

At least 44,374 people have died in Türkiye and 5,914  people have been reported dead in Syria.

Here is how you can help the earthquake victims.

Following are the latest updates:

1605 GMT — US ‘ramping up’ support for Türkiye, Syria quake victims

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has said it is expediting efforts to support earthquake victims in Türkiye and Syria, announcing the start of construction on a field hospital that will be able to provide assistance to 100 patients at a time.

“We at USAID are ramping up the delivery of humanitarian assistance to get the people of Türkiye and Syria the help they desperately need, and help to quickly recover,” Sarah Charles, who leads the agency’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, told reporters on a conference call.

“As you can imagine medical needs following the earthquakes are immense.”

In addition to working to support hospitals and other healthcare facilities in Türkiye and Syria, USAID said it and the Pentagon broke ground on a field hospital in Türkiye’s Hatay province, which will have 100 beds and surgical and intensive care units.

1553 GMT — World Bank estimates quake damages at $34B

The devastating February 6 earthquake and aftershocks that hit southern Türkiye have caused damages worth more than $34 billion in the country, according to the World Bank.

The amount is equivalent to four percent of Türkiye’s GDP in 2021, the Washington-based institution said, adding that the estimate does not account for the costs of reconstruction that were “potentially twice as large,” a statement said.

1540 GMT — Turkish Embassy in Peru sends aid to quake victims in Türkiye

Aid for quake victims in Türkiye collected by the Turkish Embassy in Peru has been sent to the country, according to an embassy statement.

Despite the great geographical distance between Türkiye and Peru, friends of Türkiye in Peru, who deeply share the pain of the Turkish nation in the wake of the devastating quakes, showed great interest in the aid drive, the embassy said.

“We sincerely thank our esteemed citizens, our dear Peruvian friends, and friends of Türkiye in Peru for their valuable contributions to our donation drive,” it added.

According to diplomatic sources, with the help of contributions of Turkish citizens living in the country and the Peruvian people, 9.5 tons of aid was collected, including heaters, sleeping bags, winter clothes and nearly 4,000 blankets.

1412 GMT — Number of wounded increase in Malatya quake 

Some 110 others have been injured in the new 5.6 magnitude quake, according to Yunus Sezer, head of AFAD.

Sezer said 32 people were rescued from the debris, while search and rescue efforts are underway in two buildings.

Some 29 buildings were destroyed in the earthquake and 657 people took part in the search and rescue efforts, he added.

1352 GMT — Turkish president pledges to preserve fabric of quake-hit historical provinces

Türkiye’s president has promised not to allow major changes to the fabric of the country’s southern regions amid efforts to rebuild from the devastation caused by twin earthquakes earlier this month.

“We cannot ignore structural changes to our (quake-hit) cities, where we’ve been living in brotherhood and which have been home to civilisations for thousands of years,” Erdogan said in a press briefing on a visit to Adiyaman, one of the provinces badly hit by the earthquakes.

Pledging that his government will take the necessary steps to prepare cities for future disasters, Erdogan said construction would not be allowed in areas near fault lines or prone to soil liquefaction during earthquakes.

1252 GMT — Indonesian field hospital treats over 2,000 people in quake-hit Türkiye

Physicians and paramedical staff from Indonesia have treated over 2,000 people in earthquake-hit Türkiye, an official from the country said.

Dr. Corona Rintawan, deputy head of Indonesian field hospital, said in a written statement that around 70 percent of patients who were treated by the Indonesian emergency medical team, complained of “respiratory problems.”

The health problems, he said, could have been caused due to weather, shelter conditions and dust as the process of dismantling of debris is still going on.

Indonesia set up its field hospital on February 15 in the Hassa district of Hatay, one of the 11 provinces hit by the massive twin earthquakes on February 6, which caused widespread devastation.

1247 GMT — Egypt showed friendship in ‘difficult times’ with Türkiye

Hailing the support and solidarity Egypt displayed immediately after deadly earthquakes shook southern Türkiye earlier this month, the Turkish foreign minister has said the two countries were “opening a new chapter in relations.”

“Friendship and fraternity are evident during difficult times,” Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint press conference with Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, who is visiting southern Adana and Mersin regions.

Shoukry said Egypt has been making efforts to help Türkiye during the disaster, adding that priority was given to ships carrying aid supplies to cross the Suez Canal.

He said Egypt believed in Türkiye’s ability to overcome the disaster, it will remain by Türkiye’s side and that bilateral relations will rise to the “best level.”

1219 GMT — Organisation of Turkic States, UN body sign deal to promote sustainable human settlements

The Organization of Turkic States (OTS) and UN-Habitat, a UN body responsible for promoting human settlements and sustainable urban development, have signed a memorandum of understanding.

“The OTS and UN-Habitat have agreed to collaborate and jointly advocate for urban development to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements in the Turkic States,” read an OTS statement.

The deal was signed at the organisation’s headquarters in Istanbul.

He also said the OTS will assist countries in efforts surrounding earthquake recovery by “providing technical assistance, mobilising resources, and supporting community-led recovery initiatives.”

0927 GMT — Uzbek volunteers serve traditional food to quake victims in southern Türkiye

Volunteers from Uzbekistan, including a singer known throughout the Central Asian country, have served traditional food to about 2,000 earthquake victims in southern Türkiye.

“Our main goal is to show people the devastation because it is not like what you see on social media,” singer Sardor Rahimkhan told Anadolu news agency in Hatay, one of the provinces hit hardest by back-to-back earthquakes earlier this month.

Rahimkhan, who also founded the charity Yurak Amri, helped serve a traditional Uzbek rice and meat dish known as osh to survivors of the earthquakes in a tent city set up by Turkish drone maker Baykar in the district of Samandag in Hatay.

0904 GMT — Magnitude 5.6 quake hits Türkiye’s eastern Malatya province

At least one person has been killed after a magnitude 5.6 earthquake jolted Türkiye’s eastern Malatya province – the fourth quake to hit the southeastern region in three weeks. 

Some 69 others were also injured, AFAD’s Sezer told reporters.

The earthquake occurred at 0904GMT (12.04pm local time) and was centred 6.96 kilometres below the surface in the district of Yesilyurt. It was also felt in neighbouring Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Adiyaman and Sanliurfa provinces.

“It was determined that some buildings were destroyed in the quake. Search and rescue teams have been dispatched to the disaster area,” AFAD said on Twitter.

0400 GMT Erdogan to visit earthquake-hit region

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to pay a visit to the country’s earthquake affected region with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli.

Erdogan is expected to visit the Golbasi district of Adiyaman province and the Dogansehir district of Malatya province.

1109 GMT — Hungary’s FM due in Türkiye on solidary visit after earthquakes

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto is set to visit Türkiye on Monday to express solidarity in the wake of the deadly February 6 earthquakes.

Szijjarto will meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the capital Ankara “to show solidarity and convey condolences,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Hungary was among the dozens of countries that sent rescue teams and relief supplies after the twin tremors, which have claimed more than 44,210 lives in 11 southern Turkish provinces.

2000 GMT Egyptian FM to visit Türkiye to show solidarity after earthquakes

Shoukry will pay a visit to Türkiye on Monday in a show of solidarity. 

The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday said that Shoukry will visit quake-hit Adana province and Mersin port, where an Egyptian aid ship will arrive.

Shoukry’s visit will mark the first foreign ministry level visit from Egypt to Türkiye after more than a decade.

Shoukry and his Turkish counterpart Cavusoglu are expected to hold a bilateral meeting, the statement added.

For our live updates from Sunday (February 26), click here.

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