Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday declared a three-month state of emergency in ten southeastern provinces hit by a massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives.
Rescue efforts in the isolated region near Syria have been paralyzed by a fierce winter storm that has made some roads impassable and delayed the delivery of food and aid.
Erdogan said a series of emergency measures would be taken to flood affected areas with humanitarian workers and financial aid.
“We have decided to declare a state of emergency to ensure that our (rescue and recovery) work can be carried out quickly,” Erdogan said on television.
“We will quickly complete the presidential and parliamentary processes related to this decision, which will cover our 10 provinces where the earthquake was experienced and will last three months.”
Erdogan’s government is coming under increasing pressure on social media for what his critics say is a slow response to Turkey’s biggest earthquake in nearly a century.
The latest toll showed the 7.8-magnitude quake and Monday’s aftershocks that killed 3,549 people in Turkey and 1,602 in government- and rebel-controlled parts of Syria.
Erdogan said his government would send more than 50,000 aid workers to the area and allocate 100 billion lira ($5.3 billion) in financial aid.
Erdogan’s handling of the worst natural disaster in his two decades of rule could be critical ahead of the hotly contested parliamentary and presidential polls on May 14.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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