ADDS MORE INFO FROM VICE PRESIDENT; DISASTER AGENCY'S STAMTENT; BACKGROUND
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) – At least 3,432 people were killed and 21,103 others injured in 10 provinces of Türkiye after two strong earthquakes on Monday jolted the southern part of the country, said on Tuesday.
Early Monday morning, a 7.7 magnitude tremor 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 Lebanon and Syria.
The total number of search and rescue personnel assigned in the region is 25,693, the number of vehicles is 360, and the number of construction equipment is 3,361, the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said in a statement.
As a result of the negotiations with the Turkish Foreign Ministry, a total 2,769 personnel from 65 countries were sent to the disaster area, it added.
Vice President Fuat Oktay said more than 8,000 people have been rescued from the rubble so far.
He added that a total of 380,500 victims have been sheltered in the dormitories of the National Education Ministry and the Youth and Sports Ministry.
At least 312 aftershocks have been recorded since the two major quakes, he added.
A total of 3,294 search and rescue personnel reached Türkiye from 14 countries, including Azerbaijan and Russia, the vice president said.
"We are sending over 1,600 additional search and rescue teams, both from abroad and our own, to Hatay," he said.
Oktay also announces that as of 11 a.m. (0700GMT), the entrance of vehicles to Hatay, Kahramanmaras, and Adiyaman was stopped for 48 hours, except for those making disaster-related shipments.
As many as 5,775 buildings collapsed, said Orhan Tatar, the general director of earthquake and risk reduction at the AFAD.
Tatar said the impact area of the quakes covers approximately 110,000 square kilometers (42,500 square miles).
Some 13.5 million citizens have been directly affected by the quakes, said Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Murat Kurum.
- 'Biggest disaster' since 1939 Erzincan quake
Türkiye is observing a seven-day national mourning after the deadly earthquakes.
All national sports events in Türkiye have been suspended until further notice, and all schools in Türkiye will be closed until Feb. 13.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said that with the quake, Türkiye was shaken by the "biggest disaster" since the 1939 Erzincan earthquake in the last century.
"Our state has taken action with all its institutions since the earthquake. All resources have been mobilized," he said at the AFAD office in the capital Ankara, where he was coordinating the rescue and relief work.
Erdogan also called on the nation to be of "one heart," saying: "I hope we will leave these disastrous days behind in unity and solidarity as a country and nation."
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 high number of transport aircraft, including A-400Ms, dispatched search and rescue teams and vehicles to the region. Ambulance planes are also using the air aid corridor.
In addition, the flights of two combat drones Akinci, which were assigned to coordinate the works in disaster areas, continue.
Besides rescue teams, blankets, tents, food, and psychological support teams were also sent to the region.
After the earthquakes, condolences poured in from around the world expressing solidarity with Türkiye, with many countries sending rescue teams and aid.