The death toll from Friday’s powerful earthquake in eastern Turkey rose to 36, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said Jan. 26.
The 6.8-magnitude quake shook Turkey’s eastern Elazığ province late Jan. 24. Tremors were also felt in the city of Malatya and neighboring countries including Syria and Georgia.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu reiterated that 45 people, who were trapped under the debris of houses and buildings, were rescued in the quake-hit region but that six were still waiting to be rescued.
A total of 678 aftershocks were felt after the Friday’s earthquake, he added.
Soylu also said a rent allowance would be given to people whose houses were destroyed as a result of the earthquake.
“We will immediately give the rent allowance to those whose houses were destroyed,” he said.
The Turkish minister also said that cash assistance will be provided directly to the families who are affected by the quake through local governorships as of Monday.
Soylu added that citizens should refrain from sending supplies to the disaster-struck areas without the coordination of Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
AFAD is running a fundraising campaign that allows citizens to text the Turkish word for ‘earthquake’ to send money to the survivors.
Erdoğan attends funeral
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan attended the funeral of two quake victims in Turkey’s eastern province of Elazığ Jan. 25.
“We have borne many earthquakes but the nation has risen above them patiently,” said Erdoğan at the ceremony.
He promised that the state will work swiftly to rescue people and restore infrastructure.
“We will not leave anyone without shelter in the quake-hit districts,” he said, requesting people to exercise strength in their weakest hour.
The president also visited the disaster-hit areas.
Outpour of support
Condolences continued to pour in to Turkey after at least 35 victims lost their lives and more than 1,500 others were injured in a powerful earthquake.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he is deeply saddened by the loss of life and destruction to property in the wake of an earthquake in Elazig province and said the UN expresses solidarity with Turkey and offered support.
“[Russian President] Vladimir Putin sent heartfelt condolences to President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the loss of life and large-scale destruction caused by an earthquake in the Elazig province,” read a statement by Kremlin.
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter: “My thoughts are with those who lost their lives and their families. We are in solidarity and ready to support.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her condolences to the victims of the quake and offered her country’s support in the relief and rescue efforts.
The U.S. offered on Jan. 25 its condolences to Turkey after an earthquake in the country’s east left at least 22 people dead and over a thousand more injured.
“Our thoughts are with our friends and Allies in #Turkey following the terrible earthquake, and we share our deep condolences with all who lost loved ones to this tragedy,” the State Department said on Twitter.