Turkey declares national mourning for seven days after earthquakes

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The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogandeclared seven days of national mourning due to the earthquakes that have left more than 1,600 dead and 11,000 injured in the country.

The nation's flag will be flown at half mast this week and until sunset on Sunday, February 12, both in Turkish territory and at diplomatic headquarters abroad, the president reported through social networks.

Erdogan also noted that the event is "the biggest disaster since the earthquake in 1939″, which left more than 30,000 dead.

The death tolls in Syria and Turkey amount to about 2,600 people and more than 2,500 injured. Since early Monday morning, more than a hundred aftershocks have been registered that have followed the first magnitude 7.4 tremor, according to authorities' estimates, which have affected search and rescue work in the ten affected provinces.

Only in Turkey, the authorities have evidence of at least 1,651 fatalities and more than 11,000 injured, according to the Minister of Health, Fahrettin Koca, reports the Anatolia agency. The balance corresponds to the ten affected provinces, although it could increase in the next few hours due to the high number of people trapped in the rubble.

Likewise, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) estimates that more than 2,800 buildings have been completely destroyed.

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said at a press conference that the government declared the highest level of alarm, which includes the request for international help, and sent numerous search and rescue teams to the earthquake areas.

In addition, Vice President Fuat Oktay highlighted that 102 mobile units have been sent to the affected areas, while noting that schools in the ten affected provinces will be closed for a week.

Given this, various countries expressed their willingness to send aid for the damage, including Mexico, the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Germany, the United Kingdom, Israel, China, Italy, Hungary, Spain, Malta, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic , France, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and more.

In turn, the European Union (EU) activated the Civil Protection Mechanism to coordinate the response to the earthquake, as confirmed by the Crisis Management Commissioner, Janez Lenarcic.

(With information from Europa Press)

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