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Earthquake death toll surpasses 37,000 as rescue works still underway

Rescue works continue in Turkey’s southeast and neighboring Syria on Monday, more than a week after the area was hit by earthquakes that killed more than 37,000 people.

Turkey’s worst earthquake in almost a century has left a trail of destruction that could cost Ankara up to USD 84.1 bn, a business group said, while a government official put the figure at more than USD 50 bn.

Saray Street in Hatay-Antakya before and after the earthquake:

📹: Alper Sener

— Tansu YEĞEN (@TansuYegen) February 13, 2023

The Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation reported that the main costs would be rebuilding housing, transmission lines, and infrastructure, and meeting the short, medium, and long-term shelter needs of hundreds of thousands left homeless.

The collapse of the road leading to the village of Köşeli, crossing the highway Adıyaman-Şanlıurfa-Gaziantep, gives another demonstration of the devastating energy released by the earthquake which hit Turkey and Syria one week

— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) February 13, 2023

The rescue phase of the aid mission to Turkey and Syria is coming to a close with the focus shifting to keeping people fed and sheltered, the United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths stressed during a visit to Syria’s Aleppo.

“The humanitarian phase, the urgency of providing shelter, psychosocial care, food, schooling, and a sense of the future for these people, that’s our obligation now,” Griffiths said.

Turkey won’t accept a new Syrian refugee influx’

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that the country will not accept a new influx of refugees from Syria after last week’s devastating earthquake.

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Claims that there is a new influx of refugees from Syria to Turkey (after the earthquake) are not true. We will not allow that, it is out of the question,” Çavuşoğlu emphasized during a news conference in Ankara.

Humanitarian aid to Syria’s rebel-held areas is being delivered through the Bab al Hawa border crossing, and Turkey is ready to open two new border crossings from Kilis province after the earthquake, the Foreign Minister stated.

“All of these border crossings are for humanitarian aid. That does not mean that Syrians are coming to Turkey through these crossings,” he said. “We are not allowing a new Syrian refugee influx. These are two separate issues,” he added.

The quake is now the sixth most deadly natural disaster this century, behind the 2005 tremor that killed at least 73,000 in Pakistan.

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