Turkiye-Syria earthquake death toll reaches 54,000

ANKARA – The death toll in Turkiye from massive earthquakes has risen to 48,448.

This was announced by Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday. The local authorities rushed to set up container cities to accommodate the homeless people. 

The combined death toll including those killed in Syria has risen to more than 54,000.

Addressing a news conference in Malatya, Soylu said the toll in Turkiye included 6,660 foreign nationals, mostly Syrians. He said that the authorities were still trying to identify 1,615 victims.

The earthquake and subsequent powerful tremors injured more than 115,000 in Turkiye and left millions sheltering in tents or seeking to move to other cities.

The interior minister said the government planned to set up 115,585 containers for as many families in 239 sites across the affected region. 

President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild homes within a year but it will be many months before thousands can leave their tents or container housing, and daily queues for food.

Separately, a UN-appointed commission of inquiry said on Monday that the UN, the Syrian government and other actors are responsible for delays in getting emergency aid to Syrians after the earthquake.

In a statement, Chair of the commission Paulo Pinheiro said, “Though there were many acts of heroism amid the suffering, we also witnessed a wholesale failure by the Government and the international community, including the UN, to rapidly direct life-saving support to Syrians in the most dire need.”