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Turkey completes search and rescue operations in Izmir

Turkey completes search and rescue operations in Izmir

Turkey on Wednesday concluded its search and rescue efforts in the western province of Izmir, which was hit by a 6.6 magnitude earthquake last Friday, a senior official confirmed. A total of 107 people were pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. Mehmet Güllüoğlu, head of the state-run Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) that coordinated the efforts, tweeted that the crews had completed their task of going through the rubble of buildings that collapsed in the disaster.

The latest death toll from the earthquake was 114, with 137 people still being treated for injuries. Some 1,035 people were injured in the earthquake. Search and rescue teams were on the ground to extract victims from the rubble of 17 collapsed and partially collapsed buildings in the province since Friday.

The government had earlier pledged to provide a lifeline to survivors as the winter approaches. Authorities have announced that prefabricated housing units will be set up for survivors and people living in damaged buildings who were relocated to tents after the disaster.

Speaking in Izmir on Wednesday, Minister of Environment and Urban Planning Murat Kurum said they would heal the wounds of “our brothers and sisters in Izmir.” He noted that the issues of rebuilding and urban transformation were discussed in Tuesday’s cabinet meeting. “We have to build safe, sturdy residences in Izmir and increase safety inspections. Our country is under a serious risk of earthquake and each disaster reminds us of this,” he said. The urban transformation refers to projects that involve the demolition of old, decrepit buildings, buildings deemed unsafe and reconstruction in the same area of new houses endurable to earthquakes. 1.5 million housing units – apartment flats, single-story houses, et cetera – will be transformed within the next five years under an ambitious plan by the government. Under a plan unveiled last year, at least 300,000 units will be demolished and replaced with new ones in five years.