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Türkiye quakes generated up to 210 million tonnes of rubble — UNDP

The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP] has said it plans to support Türkiye in the removal of rubble and the management of the debris from the earthquake’s devastation.

The UN agency said on Wednesday it estimates that the disaster has generated between 116 million and 210 million tonnes of rubble.

It estimated an area at least 30 kilometres by 30 kilometres with debris piled three metres high would be needed to contain it all.

“This makes this clearly the largest earthquake disaster in Türkiye’s history and perhaps the largest natural disaster the country has ever faced,” said Louisa Vinton, UNDP’s Türkiye Resident Representative.

Two further earthquakes measuring 6.4 and 5.8 on the Richter Scale killed six more on the Türkiye-Syria border on Monday.

Highlighting the staggering scale of the reconstruction challenge ahead, Vinton explained an estimated 116 to 210 million tonnes of rubble would have to be cleared away first.

“To give you a frame of reference, the last major earthquake in Türkiye, in 1999, which also had a high number of casualties, although less than half of what we’re seeing now, that resulted in 13 million tonnes of rubble,” she said.  

“Much of it can be recycled for construction and it can also be used as a way of generating income short term,” Vinton explained.

Search for family heirlooms ends as building crumbles in latest earthquake

500,000 new homes will need to be built

As the death toll from the February 6 earthquake disaster topped 43,000 in Türkiye, UN development experts said that 1.5 million people have been made homeless in the south of the country, where at least 500,000 new homes would need to be built.

Türkiye authorities say 118,000 buildings containing 412,000 units have either collapsed or are so damaged that they will need to be demolished.

UNDP said it aims to draw on its experience in responding to earthquakes in other locations, including Haiti, Nepal and Pakistan, the massive explosion in Beirut as well as rubble caused by the war in Ukraine.

Scientific and fast’: Türkiye’s earthquake reconstruction project begins

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