Over 20,600 dead from powerful earthquakes in Southern Turkiye

At least 20,665 people died and 80,088 others were injured in two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, the country's disaster agency said on Saturday.

The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 earthquakes, centered in Kahramanmaras province, affected more than 13 million people across 10 provinces, including Hatay, Malatya, Gaziantep, Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.

Several countries in the region, including Syria and Lebanon, also felt the strong tremors that struck Türkiye in the space of fewer than 10 hours.

More than 166,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

Almost 92,700 people have been evacuated from quake-hit regions so far, AFAD said.

In a media briefing, AFAD official Orhan Tatar said the 7.7 magnitude earthquake made an effect of and released energy as powerful as 500 atomic bombs.

Tatar also dismissed the social media claims of volcanic activity in southern Kahramanmaras' Goksu district after the powerful earthquakes, saying that "there is no lava flow, volcanic ash, oil or gas emission in the region."

He added: "According to our observations, the incident (in Goksu district) is nothing more than a simple mass movement that is triggered by the earthquake and that we see very often after tremors."

Türkiye sets up air corridor

After the initial earthquake, an air aid corridor was created by the Turkish Armed Forces to deliver search and rescue teams to the region.

A large number of aircraft for transport, including A-400Ms, carried search and rescue teams and vehicles to the region. Ambulance planes are also using the air aid corridor.

National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar told reporters on Saturday that at least 63 aircrafts have conducted 707 sorties so far.

A total of 9,780 qualified armed personnel have delivered 625 tons of materials to the disaster zone, Akar said, adding that 61 aircrafts from 34 countries have carried out 147 sorties.

Besides, 41 Akinci drones have flown for 394 hours to coordinate work in quake-hit areas.

According to Akar, a total of 24 ships were also assigned to the region for personnel and material shipment and evacuation at the Gulf of Iskenderun.

"With 25,067 personnel, the Turkish Armed Forces is taking part in (rescue) efforts in the earthquake zone," Akar added.

He also said 6,500 personnel as well as 212 search and rescue dogs from 63 countries are taking part in rescue operations.

'Disaster of century'

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that the history of Türkiye is challenged by one of the biggest disasters, refering to the quakes in the country's southern provinces.

Also on Thursday, Erdogan said the quakes in southern Türkiye can be described as "disaster of the century," and the state has mobilized all its means to help the victims.

To inspect the ongoing search, rescue and relief efforts, Erdogan has so far visited Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Adana, Gaziantep, Osmaniye, Kilis, Adiyaman, and Malatya, where he met earthquake victims.

He will visit other quake-hit southern provinces of Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa on Saturday.

The Turkish parliament on Thursday approved a three-month state of emergency to speed up aid efforts.

The country is also observing seven days of national mourning in the wake of the disaster.

Condolences have poured in from around the world expressing solidarity with Türkiye, with many countries sending rescue teams and aid.

Source: Anadolu

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