Main developments following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

SAMANDAG, Turkey — Demolition crews clear mounds of rubble from the devastating February 6 earthquake in Turkey and Syria, as emergency responders rush to shelter survivors – who have been re-traumatized by the magnitude quake 6.4 on Monday in the already hard-hit Turkish province of Hatay.

This earthquake killed eight people in Turkey and Syria and demolished or damaged other buildings, leaving countless homeless. The combined death toll from the February 6 earthquake in the two countries stands at around 46,000 – the vast majority in Turkey.

Here’s a look at key developments on Wednesday in the aftermath of the earthquake.


The powerful earthquake in Turkey and Syria will require a huge reconstruction operation on a scale “never seen before”, a senior European Union official has said.

European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi made the comment on Wednesday during a visit to Ankara to prepare for an international donors’ conference scheduled for March in Brussels. The conference aims to mobilize funds from the international community to support Turkey and Syria after the earthquake.

“We are all shocked by the horror the Turkish people have to go through,” Varhelyi said at a joint press conference with Sweden’s Foreign Trade Minister and Turkey’s Foreign Minister. “That’s why we’re here to help you; because we care, because we are friends, because we are allies.

The commissioner continued: “My generation has certainly not seen such a devastating earthquake on the planet… It will take a huge reconstruction operation. Perhaps something, again, that we have never seen before.

Last week, the United Nations appealed for $1 billion to help humanitarian agencies in Turkey come to the aid of millions affected by the earthquake.


Turkey’s broadcasting watchdog has fined four TV stations for airing programs critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government’s handling of the aftermath of the disaster.

The move is widely seen as an attempt by the government to censor negative coverage of the government’s response to the earthquake ahead of elections scheduled for June 18.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council, or RTUK, has fined Halk TV, Tele 1 and Fox TV and also ordered Halk TV and Tele 1 broadcasts to be canceled for five days, Ilhan Tasci said, council member of the main Turkish opposition. to party.

Meanwhile, authorities blocked access to a popular online forum, Eksi Sozluk, where government critics posted opinions. The website said on Twitter that it was trying to get information about the reason for the block.

Erdogan’s government has come under heavy criticism after access to Twitter was restricted for several hours days after the earthquake. Officials said the move was an effort to combat misinformation on Twitter. Many complained, however, that it hampered rescue efforts.


The United Nations development program said it planned to help Turkey clear rubble and deal with debris from the devastation of the earthquake.

A UNDP statement said the agency estimates the disaster generated between 116 million and 210 million tonnes of rubble. He estimates that an area at least 30 kilometers by 30 kilometers (18.6 miles by 18.6 miles) with debris piled three meters (yards) high would be needed to contain it all.

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

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


Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey.


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