West News Wire: In ten provinces affected by terrible earthquakes and numerous aftershocks that have killed hundreds of people and reduced buildings to rubble in southeast Turkey and northwest Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proclaimed a three-month state of emergency.
A day after the first 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey, Erdogan declared in broadcast remarks, “We have decided to establish a state of emergency to ensure that our [rescue and recovery] efforts can be carried out expeditiously.” Numerous strong aftershocks, including one with a magnitude of 7.6, occurred immediately following the earthquake.
In his speech, Erdogan said that 70 nations had offered assistance with search and rescue efforts and that Turkey planned to open hotels in the tourism hub of Antalya, to the west, to temporarily house people affected by the quakes.
He said the death toll in Turkey had risen to 3,549, with the total number of people killed, including those in northern Syria, exceeding 5,000.
Erdogan’s comments came as frantic search and rescue operations were under way for a second consecutive day amid freezing temperatures.
Countries and aid agencies have rushed to deploy personnel and offer humanitarian assistance.
But more bad weather is expected to hit the region, further hampering rescue operations. Downed buildings and destroyed roads have also made it difficult to find survivors and get crucial aid into affected areas. Several airports have also been closed after being damaged by the earthquakes.