Turkey on Sunday said rescue efforts following last week’s devastating earthquake had ended in all but two provinces.
The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6 has killed more than 46,000 people, with the likelihood of finding survivors after two weeks extremely remote.
The head of Turkey’s disaster management agency, Yunus Sezer, on Sunday said search and rescue efforts had been completed in all provinces apart from Hatay and Kahramanmaras, the earthquake’s epicentre.
The efforts were continuing at about 40 buildings in the two provinces on the 14th day, said Sezer, but he expected the number to fall by late Sunday.
Sezer also said Turkey’s death toll had risen to 41,020. The total toll, including Syria, is now more than 46,000.
Some 105,794 buildings checked by Turkey’s Ministry of Environment and Urbanization are either destroyed or so badly damaged as to require demolition, the ministry said in a statement on Sunday.
Of these, 20,662 had collapsed, the statement said. The damaged or destroyed buildings contained more than 384,500 units, mostly residential apartments.
The figures were for Turkey and did not cover collapsed and damaged buildings in neighbouring Syria.
The winding-down of rescue operations came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Turkey to show solidarity with the NATO ally and announce a new aid package worth $100m.
The new aid “will be moving soon,” Blinken told reporters. “Sadly, it’s less about search and rescue but long-term recovery.”
On Twitter, the White Helmets civil defence group said they had met Blinken in southern Turkey to discuss “the response to the earthquake in NW #Syria, the humanitarian situation, ways to support affected civilians, and mechanisms for achieving early recovery”.
Group’s Deputy Director Farouk Habib told Blinken he was grateful for US support after the quake, while the latter offered condolences and commended the rescuers’ “heroic efforts”, the group tweeted.