Turkey announces 3-month state of emergency in quake-hit provinces

By Anadolu Agency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Tuesday a state of emergency for three months in 10 provinces hit by Monday’s massive earthquakes in the country’s south.

“Based on the authority given to us by Article 119 of the Constitution, we decided to declare a state of emergency,” Erdogan said at the State Information Coordination Center in the capital Ankara.

“We will quickly complete the presidential and parliamentary processes about the state of emergency decision, which will cover 10 provinces where earthquakes have occurred and will last for three months” for search and rescue operations and the following efforts to be carried out rapidly the president said.

Erdogan’s remarks came after a 7.7 magnitude tremor early Monday struck the Pazarcik district of Kahramanmaras province, then about nine hours later, a 7.6 magnitude quake centered in Kahramanmaras’s Elbistan district rocked the region, affecting several other provinces, including Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.

The earthquake was also felt in several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon.

“We are facing one of the biggest disasters not only of the history of the Turkish Republic but also of our geography and the world,” Erdogan said.

At least 3,549 people were killed and 22,168 others injured in 10 provinces after two strong earthquakes, according to the president.

“Our biggest relief is that over 8,000 of our citizens have been rescued from the rubble so far,” Erdogan said.

All means mobilized, president says

Erdogan stressed that Turkey has been exerting efforts in disaster-hit areas with all its institutions, personnel, and means with a spirit of mobilization.

So far, 54,000 tents, 102,000 beds, and other supplies have been dispatched to the region, he said.

For emergency aid and support, Türkiye allocated 100 billion Turkish liras ($5.3 billion) in the first place, according to the president.

Erdogan said more than 53,300 search and rescue staff and support personnel are currently working in the quake zone, adding: “This number is increasing with every passing hour, with teams coming from across the country and world.”

The president added that gendarmerie forces are also on duty in the disaster area with thousands of experts and 26 cargo planes, as well as the coast guard command joining the search and rescue operations with ships and boats.

“The Turkish army is taking part in the rescue efforts with all its means, including 10 ships and 54 cargo planes, in addition to thousands of personnel,” he added.

Erdogan said the schools across the country is suspended until Feb. 13 and the schools in quake-hit 10 provinces will be closed until Feb. 20.