Turkey has ceased rescue operations in all but two provinces nearly two weeks after a powerful earthquake claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, as per the country’s disaster agency. The chief of the agency announced that the search for survivors will continue in Kahramanmaras and Hatay.
Despite efforts to locate survivors in the rubble, any hope of finding more has been dwindling.
In the meantime, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Turkey and announced $100 million (£83 million) in humanitarian aid.
The epicenter of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on February 6th was in Kahramanmaras. Over 44,000 people have been confirmed dead in southeastern Turkey and northern Syria.
With roughly 345,000 apartments destroyed in Turkey, the death toll is expected to rise, and many people are still unaccounted for. Neither Turkey nor Syria has revealed the exact number of missing individuals.
“Search and rescue operations have been completed in many of our provinces,” said Yunus Sezer, the chief of the disaster agency, to reporters in Ankara. He added that efforts to locate survivors would continue in around 40 buildings in the two provinces, but he anticipated that this number would decrease by Sunday evening.
On Friday, rescue workers were able to extract at least three people from the rubble.
Although Mr. Blinken’s visit to Turkey was scheduled before the earthquake, he arrived to show support. This is his first visit to Turkey in over two years since taking office.
During his visit, he announced that the new aid would be dispatched shortly. He told reporters that, regrettably, the aid would focus more on long-term recovery than on search and rescue efforts, acknowledging that this would be a prolonged process.
Moreover, Mr. Blinken told the press that providing assistance to Syria was “very, very challenging.”
After observing the humanitarian efforts in Hatay, he plans to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. They are expected to discuss issues such as Turkey’s refusal to ratify the Nato membership applications of Sweden and Finland.