Turkey ‘s Erdogan seeks forgiveness over quake rescue delays

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked people in a heavily quake-hit area of Turkey for understanding over rescue delays, amid mounting anger at the government’s response, the BBC reports.

On a visit to Adiyaman, Mr Erdogan said the tremors and bad weather meant “we could not work as we would have liked”. “For this, I ask forgiveness,” he said.

More than 50,000 people are known to have been killed in Turkey and Syria after huge earthquakes on 6 February.

A new, smaller quake has hit Turkey.

It killed at least one person and injured more than 100 people in Malatya province, north of Adiyaman. Search and rescue teams were trying to find several people believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings.

There have been four new earthquakes and 45 aftershocks of magnitudes 5-6 since the two massive quakes on 6 February, according to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).

The World Bank says the 6 February quakes caused about $34bn of direct damage in Turkey, but the cost of reconstruction could be about twice that figure. Meanwhile World Bank official Anna Bjerde said the situation in Syria was “really catastrophic.”

The disaster left 1.5 million people homeless and many thousands of people remain without shelter or sanitation. There are shortages of tents for survivors.

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