Turkey earthquake death toll rises to 40,689
The Turkish authorities announce that the death toll is still on the rise in light of the devastating earthquake that hit the country last week.
The number of deaths that resulted from the earthquake that hit Turkey last week has continued rising to reach 40,689 on Sunday, the head of the disaster management authority, AFD, said.
"Unfortunately, the death toll keeps rising. It stands at 40,689," AFD chief Yunus Sezer told a news briefing.
Just on Saturday, the death toll was at 40,642, with nearly 220,000 people evacuated from the areas hit by the earthquake and around 4,323 aftershocks.
On February 6th, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and ripped through Syria, causing a humanitarian catastrophe in both countries.
The UN estimates that 8.8 million people have been affected by the earthquake and its aftershocks in Syria. More than 4.2 million people have been affected by the earthquake in Aleppo, while 3 million people have been affected in Idlib, the UN noted, adding that more than 7,400 buildings have been entirely or partially destroyed.
Moreover, Turkish Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum revealed Thursday that one-tenth of the housing in earthquake-ravaged regions of southern Turkey was beyond repair and must be demolished.
"We have inspected 577,689 buildings in the disaster areas, which corresponds to some 2.665 million apartments. Of those, 56,080 buildings collapsed or must be demolished or are severely damaged," Kurum said.
The minister stated during a visit to Malatya, one of the damaged cities, that the ministry is developing a reconstruction plan that would encompass 11 provinces.
Furthermore, Al Mayadeen's correspondent in Turkey reported that more than 250 construction contractors were arrested for interrogation about the causes of the rapid collapse of buildings as a result of the earthquake.
The news about the arrest of contractors and developers of buildings and housing complexes in Turkey did not cease during the past hours while the search and rescue teams continue their efforts in the ten affected provinces following the devastating earthquake.
One of the most prominent of these contractors, Mehmet Yasar Coskun, owner of the Renaissance Residence complex in the southern Hatay province, was arrested by the authorities while he was trying to leave the country for Montenegro, from Sabiha Gokcen Airport in Istanbul.
The campaigns carried out by the Turkish authorities against the contractors are continuing, while the data indicate that they will take an upward trend in the coming days, which was indicated by the words of the Turkish Vice President, Fuad Aktay, by saying, "131 people have been identified responsible for the destroyed buildings in 10 provinces."