Turkish authorities update death toll of Feb. 6 earthquakes to 53,500

Turkish Interior Minister Yerlikaya stated that the latest data on the Feb. 6 earthquakes reveals 53,537 deaths, 107,213 injuries, and 38,901 destroyed buildings. In Hatay, 975 of the 1,759 buildings with casualties were found to be unlicensed, according to the chief public prosecutor.

Duvar English

Interior Minister Yerlikaya announced the updated information on the Feb. 6 earthquakes and stated that the death toll increased to 53,537 while the number of injured people was 107,213, in his speech for the first anniversary of the devastating quakes.

According to the previous official statement from the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD), the death toll was 50,096 and the number of injured people was 107,204.

Yerlikaya said that 38,901 buildings were destroyed in the earthquakes and 691,000 survivors have been living in container camps. He noted that the number of survivors evacuated from the earthquake zone was 3.5 million while approximately 14 million people were directly affected by the earthquakes. 

Authorities have assessed 2.3 million buildings and 6.2 million independent sections in the buildings for damage. The rubble of 60,421 demolished and collapsed buildings were completely removed in 69 days, according to the minister.

Yerlikaya stated that the rubble of 166,602 out of 200,401 severely damaged buildings has been removed and 91 percent of the debris removal by volume has been fulfilled.

According to AFAD reports, the total number of buildings in the region affected by the earthquake was 717,614.

The government determined entitlements for a total of 441,567 properties, including 389,000 houses, 40,658 workplaces, and 11,531 barns. The minister stated that the government would fulfill its promise to deliver public housing for the survivors “rapidly.”

The government’s previous promises could not be reached due to worsening economic conditions and ever-increasing costs. The government pays 7,500 liras in rental assistance to homeowners whose houses were demolished and 5,000 liras to tenants. Rents have skyrocketed in the country, especially in the earthquake zone.

In the fundraising campaign organized after the earthquake, 128.95 billion Turkish liras were collected, and 79.3 billion liras were spent. 

Some 975 of 1,759 buildings in which deaths occurred found unlicensed in Hatay

Hatay Chief Public Prosecutor Ahmet Çelikkol said 113 people were arrested in connection with construction defects in buildings that collapsed in the central Antakya and Defne districts of the province. 

"It has been determined that 975 of the 1,759 buildings where deaths occurred were unlicensed buildings," Çelikkol said, according to the reporting of the online news outlet T24.

Hatay’s Earthquake Crimes Investigation Bureau has opened 22,581 investigation files and combined them into 3,522 cases as a result of building-based assessments. 

The first earthquake in the Pazarcık district of Kahramanmaraş was 7.7 magnitude and lasted 65 seconds; the second earthquake in the Elbistan district was 7.6 magnitude and lasted 45 seconds.

These two earthquakes affected 11 provinces in an area of 120,000 square kilometers in Turkey’s southeastern region.