Speech of Şırnak Governor Osman Bilgin, who has been appointed as the disaster coordinator to Gaziantep's Nurdağı district, in which he talks about the extent of damage of the earthquake disaster has gone viral on social media.
In the video, Bilgin acknowledged that the aid came to the quake hit region late because “the situation is four or five times worse than official figures.”
He added that “We will rebuild some cities from scratch. Thus, it is not an earthquake like the previous ones, Istanbul-quake or Erzincan-quake (that caused great destruction as well). We will redraw the maps of some cities. That’s why we are sorry as the state and state officials for arriving late to the disaster zone.”
In an earlier speech, the same governor stated that they will rebuild the whole district of Nurdağı in a common decision made with the Urbanization Ministry.
As of Feb. 20, the death toll rose to 41,020 and the state-run Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) announced that rescue and search operations ended in the region except Kahramanmaraş and Hatay provinces.
Turkish Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum on Feb. 19 announced that 118,000 buildings either collapsed, are about to collapse or heavily damaged in 11 provinces due to quakes.
Jailed former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş said on Feb. 10 that the official death toll figures for the latest major earthquakes in Turkey’s southeast is false “like during the pandemic.”
From the first day onwards, survivors criticized the state institutions for arriving late to the quake-hit region.