The number of confirmed deaths due to the 6 February earthquakes in Turkey has reached 47,932, including 6,265 foreign nationals, while 1,619 bodies still remain unidentified, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Friday.
With the loss of life in Syria, the combined death toll from the disaster now exceeds 53,000.
According to the Turkish Interior Minister, the number of people reported missing from the earthquake area after the disaster is 264, including children. MPs from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced last week that 39 children under the age of 18 were missing, and that 34 of those were under 15.
Meanwhile, Turkish Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said on Friday that 1,706,000 buildings have been inspected since the earthquakes and that 821,302 independent units have been severely damaged and required immediate demolition.
Stating that the damage assessment operations are complete in five of the ten provinces in the south and southeast where there was massive destruction from the earthquakes, Kurum said that 96.6% of the buildings destroyed were built before 1999.
However, open source satellite maps available on the internet and data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) contradict the statements about the ages of the buildings that collapsed.
According to TUIK data, 51.1% of the people in the ten provinces lived in buildings built after 2001.
Photographs from the Copernicus satellite, which the European Union made available for Turkey’s use for damage assessment and emergency aid, clearly show the collapsed and damaged buildings in the earthquake zone. Although the data obtained from the satellite does not fully reflect the damage on the ground, according to these images, the number of new buildings that have been damaged is quite high.
There was a national backlash against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) due to the extent of the destruction in the earthquake, on the basis of what was cited as the government’s construction or zoning amnesties that allowed illegal structures, and its neglect of construction inspections.