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With $104 billion in damages, Turkey’s earthquake region sees slow recovery

Turkey’s quake victims can hardly hope for a faster recovery, as Ankara seems to be keeping the pace of reconstruction tied to its overall economic roadmap, wary of overheating the fragile economy.
In an aerial view, a new housing project under construction for displaced earthquake survivors is seen in the Gulderen district on Feb. 1, 2024, in Hatay, Turkey.
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ISTANBUL — As Turkey marks the first anniversary on Feb. 6 of last year's massive earthquake, hundreds of thousands of survivors still struggle to return to normalcy with the country’s economic woes standing in the way of speedy recovery efforts.

Two temblors, the first measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale and the second nearly as powerful, followed by hundreds of aftershocks caused colossal devastation in 10 southern and southeastern provinces, affecting more than 13 million people and claiming over 53,000 lives. 

The government has faced criticism for not being transparent enough on the relief efforts and the ensuing reconstruction. It could have set up a special communication platform to keep the public informed, detailing the progress and shortcomings of the recovery process as well as the spending of funds. Instead, such information has been scattered across various reports and statistics. 

According to the presidency’s annual program for 2024, about 39,500 buildings were destroyed by the quakes, with more than 21,000 others slated for urgent demolition as of October 2023. Some 209,000 buildings were classified as heavily damaged and 44,000 others as moderately damaged. 

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