At least 76 people have been killed and 949 others wounded after a magnitude-6.6 earthquake jolted Izmir, as search and rescue activities in the Aegean province entered their fourth day.
The earthquake on Friday caused several buildings to collapse and flooding due to surges along with coastal areas.
A total of 682 victims have been discharged from hospitals, while 214 are still getting treatment.
On Sunday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he was “determined to heal the wounds of our brothers and sisters in Izmir before the cold and rains begin.”
Erdogan said that the Turkish nation stands by the “citizens affected by the earthquake.”
Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan, İzmir’de açıklamalarda bulunuyor https://t.co/WpSM4PzIgC
— T.C. Cumhurbaşkanlığı (@tcbestepe) October 31, 2020
“We took action to start the necessary work in the region with all our relevant institutions and ministers,” Erdogan explained.
Hundreds of aftershocks
While visiting the areas, Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said the possibility of rescuing victims from debris after an earthquake in Izmir is very high after the first 72 hours.
“We have met with families, all of them are quite resilient. We expect to receive good news and rescue people,” said Oktay.
The country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (or AFAD) said as of 1600GMT (7 pm local time) on Sunday, there have been 987 aftershocks with 43 stronger than magnitude-4.0.
It added that 729 injured have been discharged from hospitals while 220 people are still under treatment.
Temporary accommodation centres were established to meet the urgent need for shelter in Izmir, with 3,545 tents, 57 general-purpose tents, 24,382 blankets, 13,280 beds, 5,500 sleeping sets, 2,657 kitchen sets and 4 showers and toilet containers shipped to the zone, AFAD noted.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca stressed that there has been no precedence for the current situation – an earthquake disaster during times of a pandemic.
“We should not succumb to the pandemic while fighting an earthquake disaster,” Koca noted, urging everyone to continue taking measures against Covid-19.
Turkish authorities declared that Search and rescue operations have been completed in nine buildings in Izmir while teams are still working in eight others.
AFAD said the quake struck on Friday at 1151 GMT at a depth of around 10 miles.
Local media showed wreckage of a multiple-story building in central Izmir, with people climbing it to reach rescuers. Plumes of dust were filmed in several spots in central Izmir.
A total of 106 people have been rescued from the debris so far. During search and rescue operations 62-year-old woman also was saved from the debris.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said the shocks of the quake were also felt in the metropolis, but no “damage” was reported.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said there are minor damages to buildings reported from several provinces in the region, including Usak, Denizli, Manisa, Balikesir, Aydin, and Mugla.