Turkish officials have ordered the building contractors to be further investigated over violations of safety standards as the death toll for the February 6, 2023 earthquake in southern Turkiye continues to go up.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Thursday Ankara will widen the probe into building contractors who were suspected of violating safety standards as the country stepped up its housing projects for the earthquake victims.
The quake was centered in Kahramanmaras and struck 10 other provinces – Adana, Adiyaman, Diyarbakir, Hatay, Gaziantep, Malatya, Kilis, Osmaniye, Elazig, and Sanliurfa. Millions of people have been affected by the devastating quake, which also hit Syria.
Soylu said 564 housing contractors suspected of breaching safety standards had been identified so far. He said 160 people had been arrested and many more builders were still under investigation. The latest official death toll had risen overnight to 43,556, Soylu said, adding that there had been 7,930 aftershocks following the first quake a fortnight ago.
“Our cities will be built in the right places, our children will live in stronger cities. We know what kind of test we are facing, and we will come out of this stronger,” he told a local news outlet.
Soylu said to date some 313,000 tents and 100,000 container homes had been allocated for the earthquake zone. He said more than 600,000 apartments and 150,000 commercial buildings had been damaged in the earthquake, some moderately.
Meanwhile, Turkiye’s Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said more than 530,000 apartments and 164,000 buildings were either destroyed or severely damaged by the earthquake.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised the victims that Ankara will order building contractors to build housing for them within a year.
The death toll has reached more than 47,000 in Turkey and Syria. Thousands of international search and rescue personnel, including those from Iran, headed to Turkey and Syria after the quake hit for rescue and relief operations.