Erdogan declares state of emergency in earthquake-hit regions

Turkish President and leader of the Justice and Development Party (AK) Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at his party’s meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (GNA) in Ankara, May 18, 2022.

Adem Altan | AFP | Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces of the country.

Turkey and neighboring Syria are hit by two consecutive earthquakes – the strongest in the region in nearly a century – that have devastated vast swaths of territory, taking lives and buildings with them.

At the time of writing, the death toll from the earthquakes has exceeded 5,000, many of whom are still missing and seriously injured. And soon after a seismic disaster left tens of thousands homeless, a brutal winter storm erupted, threatening even more lives.

The earthquakes, which occurred nine hours apart and measured 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter scale respectively, destroyed at least 6,000 buildings, many of which were still occupied. Rescue efforts continue – the Turkish government has sent about 15,000 search and rescue personnel – and countries around the world have pledged help, but rescuers in both countries say they are completely overwhelmed.

Syria, already crippled by years of war and terrorism, is the least prepared for such a crisis. The affected regions are home to thousands of internally displaced people who are already living in dire conditions such as tents and makeshift shacks, with very little medical and emergency services infrastructure to rely on.

While the dust from the disaster is still settling, regional analysts are focusing on the long-term impact it could have on Turkey, a nation of 85 million already mired in economic troubles and whose military, economy and president wield much influence far beyond its own. outside.

This is breaking news, please check back later for more information.

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