By Ahmet Caner Baysal, Nurten Aslan and Aziz Aslan
ANKARA (AA) – Rehabilitation efforts in Turkey’s earthquake-affected Elazig and Malatya provinces are proceeding swiftly and schools in affected areas are set to reopen on Feb. 10, the country’s interior minister said on Wednesday.
“On the orders of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a total of 44 million Turkish liras (nearly $7.4 million) have been provided for Elazig and Malatya,” Suleyman Soylu told reporters at the Elazig Governorship.
Additionally, he said, around 100 million Turkish liras ($17 million) have been raised by citizens through various charities. “I am pleased to tell you the rehabilitation operation is progressing smoothly and there has not been a single incident of public disorder in Elazig or Malatya.”
Soylu announced that schools in Elazig and Malatya’s Doganyol, Puturge, Kale, and Battalgazi districts will reopen on Feb. 10.
Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said over 1,000 buildings in Elazig suffered moderate to heavy damage, 118 of which will be demolished.
In Malatya, he said, more than 4,000 buildings were damaged and 20 of them will be torn down. “A total of 58 buildings in Elazig and 430 in Malatya were destroyed in the earthquake. As part of the rebuilding efforts, we will construct a total of 6,400 houses – 3,850 in Elazig and 2,550 in Malatya,” said Kurum.
Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 64 people are still hospitalized with seven under treatment in special care units. He confirmed that the death toll remains at 41.
The 6.8-magnitude quake shook the eastern Elazig province and other neighboring provinces, including Adana, Osmaniye, Tunceli, and Hatay, late on Friday last week. The epicenter of the earthquake was in Elazig’s Sivrice district and tremors were also felt in neighboring countries, including Syria and Georgia.
*Writing by Davut Demircan