ADDS MORE REMARKS BY TURKISH PRESIDENT
By Diyar Guldogan
ANKARA (AA) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday promised to heal the wounds of the victims of powerful earthquakes that hit the country's southern region last month and claimed more than 50,000 lives.
"Together we will remove the traces of this disaster," Erdogan said at a groundbreaking ceremony in the quake-hit Hatay province.
On Feb. 6, magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 Turkish provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Elazig, Hatay, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, Kilis, Malatya, Osmaniye, and Sanliurfa.
More than 13.5 million people in Türkiye have been affected by the quakes, as well as many others in northern Syria.
"We will not leave (quake-hit region) until all the wounds are healed and everything that has been destroyed is rebuilt for the better," he added.
Türkiye plans to construct enough buildings in a year to meet the needs of quake victims, Erdogan said, adding that 319,000 houses would be built in the first year and 650,000 in total.
No other country than Türkiye could come to the stage of rebuilding in such a short time after a disaster with such severe destruction, he stressed.
About the ongoing establishment of temporary accommodation centers, Erdogan said: "We aim to set up 100,000 containers across the region by May. The distribution of tents continues uninterruptedly."
Speaking after iftar dinner in Hatay, Erdogan said Türkiye is dealing with the devastating consequences of "one of the greatest" natural disasters in human history.
"We can overcome this only with solidarity," he added.