UPDATE 2 - Over 18,340 dead in powerful earthquakes in southern Türkiye

UPDATE 2 - Over 18,340 dead in powerful earthquakes in southern Türkiye

Monday's twin quakes, centered in Kahramanmaras, impact more than 13M people across 10 provinces

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By Diyar Guldogan

ANKARA (AA) - At least 18,342 people were killed and 74,242 others injured by two strong earthquakes that jolted southern Türkiye on Monday, the country's disaster agency said on Friday.

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

At least 121,128 search and rescue personnel are currently working in the field, according to the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD).

A total of 80,863 people have been evacuated from quake-hit regions, AFAD said in a statement, adding that 6,810 personnel from foreign countries were dispatched to the disaster zone.

The Foreign Ministry said that a total of 97 countries have offered assistance and that search and rescue teams from 61 nations were currently continuing with their efforts in the field.

Besides rescue teams, blankets, tents, food and psychological support teams, along with 12,241 vehicles including excavators, tractors and bulldozers were also sent to affected areas.

A total of 97,973 family tents have been set up to shelter the survivors, the authority said.

Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum said the country would launch the "biggest disaster housing mobilization" in the history of the Republic of Türkiye in 10 provinces simultaneously.


​​​​​​- 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.

Rescue and relief personnel and materials were directed to the region with 150 aircraft, AFAD said.

Besides, flights of two Akinci drones are being used to coordinate work in disaster areas.

A total of 22 ships were also assigned to the region for personnel and material shipment and for evacuation.


- 'Disaster of century'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday 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 and Kilis, where he met earthquake victims.

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.

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