Turkey’s Erdoğan declares three-month state of emergency as earthquake death toll passes 5,400
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in the areas of his country hardest hit by the previous day’s earthquake as the reported death toll in Turkey and Syria climbed to more than 5,400.
In a speech on Tuesday, Erdoğan said that the state of emergency will be imposed in provinces in the country’s southeast region, adding that the measure was implemented to ensure that rescue work can be “carried out rapidly.”
“We will quickly complete the presidency and National Assembly processes regarding this decision, which is to cover the 10 provinces and remain in effect for a period of three months,” Erdoğan said in his speech.
He said more than 50,000 search and rescue personnel are currently working on the scene and more than 150,000 beds, tents and other relief materials have been sent to the impacted region.
“Our teams worked selflessly to reach the disaster areas and join the operations despite the difficulties due to weather conditions. What is more, the danger the large number of aftershocks cause in damaged structures negatively affect the works,” Erdoğan added. “We rapidly continue the search and rescue operations with the support of our citizens and volunteers regardless of the difficulty of the conditions.”
The state of emergency is intended to last until May 14, when the country holds its elections, according to the BBC.
According to The Associated Press, the Turkish Interior Ministry said it will look over requests for help made through social media posts and relay the information to rescue teams.
At least 5,415 people died after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria early Monday morning, leveling hundreds of buildings.
In a statement, President Biden expressed his condolences over the destruction and loss of life, offering to help with recovery efforts from the disaster and authorizing an “immediate U.S. response” to help Turkey.
“At my direction, senior American officials reached out immediately to their Turkish counterparts to coordinate any and all needed assistance. Our teams are deploying quickly to begin to support Turkish search and rescue efforts and address the needs of those injured and displaced by the earthquake. U.S.-supported humanitarian partners are also responding to the destruction in Syria,” Biden said.
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