Erdogan vows to build 319,000 homes in quake-hit southern Turkey

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Turkey has deployed troops in northern Syria since 2020, and controls entire zones with the help of Syrian auxiliaries. (AFP)
  • The Turkish president promised to erase all traces of the destruction caused by the disaster, and prepare "more strongly" for possible disasters in the future
  • The magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes affected more than 13.5 million people in Turkey, as well as many others in northern Syria

Ankara, Turkey–Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday pledged to rebuild the country’s southern region devastated by powerful earthquakes on 6th February, claiming the lives of more than 50,000 people.

“Our aim is to restore our cities in the earthquake zone by handing over 319,000 residences and village houses to owners within a year,” Erdogan said at a ground-breaking ceremony in quake-hit Elazig province.

According to state-run Anadolu Agency, Erdogan said Turkey will erase the traces of the destruction caused by the disaster, and prepare “more strongly” for possible disasters in the future.

Magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes struck 11 Turkish provinces. More than 13.5 million people in Turkey have been affected by the quakes, as well as many others in northern Syria.

The World Bank estimates that the powerful earthquake and aftershocks that hit southern Turkey have caused damage worth more than $34 billion in the country.

The amount is equivalent to four percent of Turkey’s GDP in 2021, the Washington-based institution said, adding that the estimate does not account for the costs of reconstruction that were “potentially twice as large,” a statement said.

“This disaster serves as a reminder of Turkey’s high risk to earthquakes and of the need to enhance resilience in public and private infrastructure,” said Humberto Lopez, the World Bank Country Director for Turkey.

The World Bank also estimates that 1.25 million people have been made temporarily homeless due to damage to residential buildings.

It added that direct damage to residential buildings accounted for 53 percent of the estimate, with 28 percent of damage seen in non-residential buildings and the rest in infrastructure such as roads and bridges.