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Erdogan: Earthquakes caused $104bn in damage

March 21, 2023 at 10:28 am

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) and MHP Leader Devlet Bahceli (2nd L) visit quake-hit Hatay, Turkiye after the powerful twin earthquakes on February 20, 2023 [TUR Presidency/Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Anadolu Agency]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday that the damage caused by the twin quakes that hit the country on 6 February is estimated at $104 billion.

Addressing an international donor conference held in Brussels via video link, Erdogan said: “Regardless of its economic standing, it is impossible for any country to fight a disaster of this scale on its own.” The devastating quakes killed over 56,000 people across southeastern Turkiye and parts of war-torn Syria. Thousands of others were wounded.

Erdogan said that his government is to build homes to house all those displaced by the natural disasters within a year, noting that 298,000 homes were damaged in 11 governorates.“We will never forget the support of all friends, the European Union, the UN andother international organisations,” he added.

READ: EU offers $1.1bn to help rebuild Turkiye after earthquake

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “The needs of the survivors are still massive and must be tackled with urgency.”Von der Leyen had kicked off the fundraising by promising €1 billion ($1.1 billion) to support reconstruction in Turkiye and €108 million ($113.8 million) in humanitarian aid for Syria.

Moutaz Adham, Oxfam’s director for Syria, said the fresh pledges could “be a lifeline for many Syrians who were already struggling with hunger, skyrocketing inflation, and poverty when disaster hit.”He added: “But we need a long-term solution that goes beyond just humanitarian aid.”