Earthquake-hit Turkey halts rescue operations in all but two provinces

Turkey has stopped its search and rescue operations in all but two of its provinces, two weeks after it was struck by one of the most devastating earthquakes it has ever seen.

However, the rescue efforts will continue in Antakya and Kahmaranmaraş cities—the hardest hit regions which saw the maximum destruction.

The quake’s epicentre was recorded from Pazarcik district in Kahramanmaraş, where thousands of buildings collapsed and much of the city lies in ruins.

“In many of our provinces, search and rescue efforts have been completed. They continue in Kahramanmaraş and Hatay provinces,” Disaster Relief Agency chief Yunus Sezer said during a press briefing in Ankara, reports AFP news agency.

The official said that rescue teams are currently dispatched to about 40 buildings in both provinces, adding that the number would reduce by Sunday evening.

In Antakya, rescue officers continued to find survivors under the rubble since the quake struck. On Saturday, a couple and their 12-year-old child were rescued in Hatay, 296 hours after the earthquake, Anadolu reported. But the child later died.

Turkey-Syria Earthquake: Death toll climbs 46,000; survivors struggle to rebuild lives

Among the Turkish provinces, Hatay was one of the worst affected by the February 6 quake.

Province’s Mayor Lutfu Savas on Sunday said that at least 80 per cent of its buildings will need to be rebuilt after being demolished.

Meanwhile, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Turkey on Sunday and pledged an additional $100 million in humanitarian aid. He toured the southeastern regions. 

More than 46,000 people died after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and the northern part of Syria earlier this month.

(With inputs from agencies)


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