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Live updates: Türkiye ends rescue efforts in nine provinces

Türkiye has announced that the search and rescue efforts have been completed in the earthquake zone, except in the southern Kahramanmaras and Hatay provinces as the death toll increased further.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, the country’s disaster management agency, also said that some 6,040 aftershocks hit the 11 provinces that form the disaster zone declared by the government in the days following the initial quake.

On the disaster’s 14th day, the death toll in Türkiye stands at 41,020 as of Sunday evening. The toll in Syria has reached 5,814, taking the combined death toll in both countries to at least 46,834. 

Here is how you can help the earthquake victims.

Following are the latest updates:

Sunday, February 19, 2023

0140 GMT – NATO sends temporary housing containers to quake-hit Türkiye

NATO continues its support for ally Türkiye as 600 temporary housing containers departed for the country’s quake-hit areas.

“A merchant vessel carrying the first 600 of over 1,000 containers of NATO temporary housing for Türkiye left the port of Taranto, Italy on Sunday evening,” NATO said in a statement.

It said the shipment will provide temporary housing for at least 4,000 people affected by the recent devastating earthquakes.

“It is expected to arrive in Iskenderun next week, with the establishment of the camp expected to start once the equipment is off-loaded and delivered to the site,” it added.

Meanwhile, NATO said it is coordinating the strategic airlift of tents from Pakistan to Türkiye.

0025 GMT – Bosnian search and rescue teams return from quake-hit Türkiye

Bosnian search and rescue teams have returned home after spending last week in Türkiye.

The teams were greeted with tears and applause by their family members in front of the National and University Library of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the capital Sarajevo.

Sixty-nine members of the Mountain Rescue Service with three dogs and 51 members of the Federal Civil Protection Agency with four dogs took part in search and rescue operations to save the lives of people trapped under the rubble.

More than 249,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

2339 GMT – Somalia’s South West state donates $100,000 to quake victims in Türkiye 

Somalia’s South West state has donated $100,000 to the victims of the twin earthquakes in Türkiye, said a committee recently established for contributing to relief efforts.

“The president of Somalia’s Southwest state, H.E Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagareen, has donated One Hundred Thousand Dollars to the earthquake victims’ relief in the Republic of Türkiye,” the Committee for the Relief of Türkiye, which was appointed by Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, said in a brief statement on Twitter.

Expressing their condolences to the victims of the earthquakes, officials of the South West state presidency in Baidoa, the administrative capital of the state, confirmed the relief contribution to Anadolu Agency by phone.

2119 GMT – Number of aftershocks after twin earthquakes in Türkiye exceeds 6,000: AFAD

The number of aftershocks following the two earthquakes that struck southeastern Türkiye has reached over 6,000, an official from the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said.

“The number of aftershocks caused by the two earthquakes has reached 6,040. Among them, 1,628 aftershocks were measured as a magnitude of 3-4, 436 of them with a magnitude of 4-5, and 40 with a magnitude of 5-6. There was also a 6.6 magnitude quake,” Orhan Tatar, the general director of earthquake and risk reduction at AFAD, said at a media briefing in southern Kahramanmaras province.

1915 GMT — At least 41,020 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in Türkiye

Death toll from recent powerful earthquakes in southern Türkiye rises to 41,020, the country’s disaster management agency said.

1800 GMT — Bulgaria, Malta, Albania send condolences to Türkiye

Bulgaria, Malta and Albania have extended condolences to Türkiye over deadly earthquakes.

“The leaders of Bulgaria, Malta and Albania as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidential Council’s former member Bakir Izetbegovic called Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the phone to offer their condolences over the earthquake,” according to Türkiye’s Communications Directorate.

1645 GMT — Turkish foreign minister visits quake-hit region

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited the Kirikhan and Iskenderun districts of the quake-hit Hatay province in southern Türkiye.

After his visit to a coordination centre in the Kirikhan district, Cavusoglu met with miners who took part in rescue efforts, and locals affected by earthquakes.

He stressed that the government will bind up the wounds of the earthquake victims.

He then moved to Iskenderun and visited the AFAD centre in the district.

1642 GMT — Blinken says ‘profoundly saddened’ by earthquakes in Türkiye

“Profoundly saddened to see firsthand the devastation of the earthquakes in Türkiye. The United States remains committed to doing everything we can to help with rescue, relief, and recovery efforts,” the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited the earthquake-hit region said.

Cavusoglu, for his part, said on Twitter: “Before our official meeting tomorrow, examined earthquake areas with Blinken, who is on solidarity visit to Türkiye.”

1500 GMT — Türkiye deserves ‘very strong support’ from int’l community: UK minister

Türkiye can expect the global community’s full support as it deals with the aftermath of an “awful disaster,” according to the UK’s Development Minister Andrew Mitchell.

The international community “should express very strong support in all the different phases of this operation,” Mitchell said as he toured a British field hospital in Turkoglu, a district in Kahramanmaras.

Türkiye “has many friends, with Britain in the lead amongst them,” he emphasized.

1445 GMT  — Iraqi Turkmens comfort earthquake victims in Türkiye

In a show of support for the quake victims, a group of Iraqi Turkmens travelled to the Turkish city of Malatya to set up a mobile kitchen to prepare hot meals for residents affected by the quake disaster.

“We started our relief aid by cooking hot soup enough for 500 people,” Murad Kopruoglu, an Iraqi Turkmen, said.

“We are now cooking hot meals for 6,000 people every day,” Kopruoglu added.

He said the humanitarian aid is being provided through a 15-strong Turkmen team, in coordination with Iraqi Turkmens in Kirkuk and Turkmens living in Istanbul city.

1400 GMT  — Sudan sends humanitarian aid to Türkiye

Sudan dispatched a plane loaded with humanitarian aid to the victims of twin earthquakes that killed thousands in Türkiye.

The plane is carrying 20,000 blankets and 2,000 tents.

“The aid plane was sent to Türkiye by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in the name of the Sudanese people,” RSF commander and deputy leader of Sudan’s ruling Sovereign Council, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, told reporters.

He said the Sudanese assistance to Türkiye “will not stop as other forms of aid are being prepared.”

1355 GMT  — Magnitude 4.7 earthquake jolts Türkiye’s eastern Malatya province

AFAD said the earthquake hit the Yesilyurt district at a depth of 7 kilometres.

No casualties were reported from the quake.

1345 GMT  — At least 40,689 dead from powerful twin earthquakes in Türkiye

The death toll from recent powerful earthquakes in southeastern Türkiye has risen to 40,689, the country’s disaster management agency said.

1340 GMT  — Türkiye completes search and rescue work in nine provinces

The search and rescue efforts have been completed in the earthquake zone, except in the southern Kahramanmaras and Hatay provinces, Yunus Sezer, head of the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), told reporters.

Sezer said more than 20,000 personnel continue to work on the ground, adding that search and rescue efforts continued in nearly 40 buildings.

1340 GMT  — Gaza charities collect donations for children in Türkiye, Syria

Two Palestinian charities launched donation campaigns in the Gaza Strip for children in Türkiye and Syria.

“The donation campaigns and solidarity activities are a message of loyalty from Gaza’s children to Türkiye, its people and government,” Ezzeddin Abu Sabha of the Islamic Center Society said. The campaign launched by his charity will last until Thursday to raise funds for the victims of the earthquake disaster.

Another donation campaign was also launched by Ahmad Yassin International Foundation for one day for children in both Türkiye and Syria.

“Donations will be used to buy gifts and toys for children affected by the earthquake disaster in the two countries, in a show of solidarity with them in their affliction,” said Samira Nassar, a spokesperson for the foundation.

1335 GMT  — Blinken arrives in Türkiye to show US support

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit comes after a 7.8-magnitude tremor hit southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria killing over 46,500 people but his trip had been planned before the disaster.

It is his first visit to Türkiye since he took office more than two years ago.

The top US diplomat arrived at Incirlik air base in southern Türkiye through which the United States has shipped aid.

He will meet officials coordinating the delivery of US aid and see the humanitarian effort under way in Hatay, one of the worst affected Turkish provinces.

1330 GMT  — Many of Türkiye’s historical monuments stand strong after earthquakes

While many invaluable artifacts, such as those in the prominent Zeugma Mosaic Museum, were left largely untouched in two recent earthquakes, Turkish authorities have declared that restoration and repair work would soon begin for those that took damage in the tremors.

Turkish Minister of Culture and Tourism Mehmet Nuri Ersoy declared that the restoration of historical and cultural sites in nearby Hatay province that were damaged by the massive tremors would begin next month.

He also noted that the ministry’s General Directorate of Cultural Heritage and Museums has introduced an emergency disaster prevention plan.

Teams responded immediately to work on damaged parts of museums and ruins across 11 province hit hard by the two back-to-back quakes on Feb. 6, and conducted large-scale damage assessment work of the cultural treasures.

1315 GMT  — Evacuations continue in southern Türkiye

Evacuations from the earthquake zone to other provinces continue, Sezer said: “Over 460,900 people have so far been evacuated.”

“We are currently hosting 318,970 victims who were evacuated from the quakes-hit region, in public guesthouses, hotels, and other accommodation facilities,” he added.

Also, in the region, “we are continuing to host over 1 million disaster victims in public guesthouses, hotels, and other accommodation facilities,” he said.

He said that the cash aid of 10,000 Turkish liras ($531) was given to nearly 800,000 citizens.

1230 GMT  — Int’l Red Cross head visits Türkiye’s quake zone

Türkiye hosted the head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), who was visiting earthquake-hit areas in the country to examine the humanitarian assistance activities carried out by the Turkish Red Crescent.

Visiting the southern provinces of Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras, Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain voiced his support and solidarity with Türkiye in a meeting with Kerem Kinik, the head of the Turkish Red Crescent, or Kizilay, in Kahramanmaras province, the IFRC said in a statement.

“The scale of the damage and destruction is absolutely unimaginable,” Chapagain said, calling the level of destruction, and the damage “heartbreaking.”

On Kizilay’s efforts on the ground, he said the organization “swung into action immediately in the middle of this destruction.”

1113 GMT  — More suspects detained as probe into collapsed buildings continues

At least seven more suspects have been reportedly detained as part of the continuing investigation into the collapsed buildings following the February 6 earthquakes.

According to reports on Sunday, the suspects were reportedly involved in the construction of allegedly sub-standard multi-storey buildings in the Islahiye district of Gaziantep.

1025 GMT  — AFAD tells residents to be on alert amid strong aftershocks

The director of Türkiye’s disaster management agency, AFAD, has warned citizens in earthquake-hit region of southeastern Türkiye to stay on alert after another 5.1 magnitude aftershock struck Kahramanmaras province on Sunday. 

Earlier on Sunday, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre also reported at least two strong aftershocks at magnitudes 5.5 and 5.2 in Türkiye’s central region.

0926 GMT  — Over 10,000 Syrians voluntarily returned home since February 6 disaster: Akar 

Turkish Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said on Sunday that since the February 6 earthquakes, an estimated 10,633 Syrians living in Türkiye have voluntarily returned to their home country, according to Anadolu news agency.

Akar was also quoted by news reports as saying that there are no truth to stories of a new influx of Syrian refugees into the country.

Since the 2011 civil war in Syria, an estimated four million fled to Türkiye, although it is unclear how many of them remained in the country or fled to other countries.

Many of the Syrians took refuge in southeastern Türkiye region, which was hit by two powerful earthquakes two weeks ago, leaving at least 46,000 people dead, mostly in Türkiye.

0858 GMT  — Qatar renews support for recovery effort of Türkiye

Qatar has renewed its support for Türkiye as the earthquake-hit country slowly begins is recovery effort two weeks after the devastating February 6 disaster.

In a report published on Sunday, Anadolu quoted Qatar’s ambassador to Türkiye, Sheikh Mohamed bin Nasser bin Jassim Al-Thani, as pointing out that Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim was the first to visit Türkiye after the disaster.

“Brotherhood requires this. We stand by Türkiye in good and bad times. We have unique relations. Both countries have stood by each other in every difficulty,” he said.

Sheikh Tamim donated nearly $14 million from his personal fund and overall donations from Qatar for the earthquake victims reached $46 million.

0837 GMT — Türkiye thanks foreign rescue teams, international community for help

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has posted a video expressing its gratitude to all countries that sent help and rescue teams to Türkiye following the deadly February 6 disaster.

As many as 11,000 rescue workers from at least 88 countries participated in the effort to find survivors from the quake. 

Two weeks since two powerful earthquakes struck the country, many of the rescuers have already returned to their country. 

0735 GMT — Historical artefacts left intact in Gaziantep

Despite the magnitude 7.7 quake and its powerful aftershocks that left massive destruction across southeastern Türkiye and neighbouring Syria two weeks ago, some historical artefacts have remained intact, according to an Anadolu news agency report.

The disaster has destroyed thousands of buildings, including heritage structures like centuries-old mosques, churches and synagogues.

But in Gaziantep, among the hardest hit areas, thousand-year-old columns and tiles preserved at one of the city’s museums were left undamaged.

0722 GMT — Bosnia and Herzegovina rescuers head home after saving 10 people

The 70 emergency personnel from Bosnia and Herzegovina have left Türkiye’s southern region after completing their rescue work, helping save 10 people from the rubble near the epicentre of the quake. 

The team from Bosnia and Herzegovina worked in Hatay, one of the hardest hit areas of Türkiye.

The team was assisted by three dogs, according to Anadolu news agency. 

0634 GMT — Analysis shows February 6 quake lasted for 80 seconds

An analysis conducted by the Boğaziçi University’s Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute has found that the 7.7 magnitude earthquake that hit southern Türkiye early morning of February 6 sent “three different shocks and lasted for about 80 seconds”.

In another social media post on Twitter, Kandilli Observatory also reported that more than 5,700 aftershocks have already been recorded since the disaster. 

On Sunday morning, one of the aftershocks recorded hit magnitude 4.6 with its epicentre in Kiriskal-Nurdagi area of Gaziantep.

0618 GMT — Azerbaijani mad rewarded for helping earthquake victims

An Azerbaijani man has been rewarded with a new car by a businessman as token of appreciation for helping earthquake victims in Türkiye.

Server Besirli had loaded aid materials into his old car for victims of the Türkiye disaster.

0438 GMT — Free evacuation flights extended to March 1

Turkish Airlines has announced that it is extending until March 1 its free evacuation flights to individuals from the affected areas of the February 6 earthquake. 

“Our evacuation flights from Adana, Diyarbakır, Elazig, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Malatya and Sanliurfa will continue free of charge until March 1, 2023. To facilitate the evacuation process, it is necessary to arrive at the airport with a reservation. Passengers with reservations will be given priority, and if there is a vacant seat, passengers without reservations will also be accepted,” the company was quoted as saying in Turkish news reports.

The company has carried out over 3,000 flights since the disaster two weeks ago, serving at least 265,000 people. It also shipped 10,753 tonnes of relief materials.

To read Saturday’s updates please click here

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