Addressing the World Government Summit in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday in a video message, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said almost 20 million people were affected by last Monday's earthquakes. He also said more than 8,000 people were rescued alive from the rubble. The president expressed Türkiye's appreciation of support from the international community.
Erdoğan said Türkiye was grateful to all the countries for the help they provided for the search and rescue and relief efforts in the aftermath of the powerful twin earthquakes.
Türkiye, which is facing one of the "greatest natural disasters" not only in its history but also in the history of humanity, will never forget "the friendship you showed on this dark day," he said. The earthquake disaster "once again showed the importance of international solidarity," he stressed, as Türkiye has received messages of support and condolences from more than 100 countries, including the UAE, which is hosting the summit.
"Earthquakes in our 10 provinces covering an area of 500 square kilometers (125 square miles) unfortunately affected 13.5 million lives and caused great destruction. About 20 million people were affected by the disasters if you add nearby provinces where tremors were felt. Scientists said the energy the earthquakes produced is equivalent to the impact of 500 atomic bombs. As the rubble is removed, unfortunately, our losses are increasing," the president lamented, adding that in a significant development, over 81,000 people injured in the earthquakes were discharged from hospitals after their treatment.
Erdoğan said the state and nation mobilized after the earthquake and declared a Level 4 alarm, which includes an international call for help, and declared a state of emergency in the earthquake zone. "We are working both on search and rescue and removal of rubble and setting up accommodation for survivors, through tents and prefabricated housing units. By God's will, we will start the rebuilding process in a short time. The state will join hands with the nation to heal the wounds of this catastrophe," he vowed.
The president said solidarity with Türkiye in the international community was diverse.
"Leaders of some countries called us, some sent rescue crews and some held aid campaigns. Once again, I thank all friendly, brotherly countries that collected aid around the clock for our nation, supported our rescue efforts with teams they sent and prayed for us," the president said, thanking the international community.
Erdoğan noted that the world faced multiple challenges, from natural disasters and climate change to migration and conflicts. "The world economy and development efforts went through a difficult phase due to disruptions in the supply chain, disasters stemming from climate change, the Russia-Ukraine war, the food and energy crisis and high global inflation. The gains in sustainable development goals erode in the least developed countries and the chance to achieve 2030 goals is decreasing. Global governance and close cooperation in the face of these challenges will be determining factors for our world's future," he said.
The president added that Türkiye, for the centenary of the Republic of Türkiye this year, was working hard to establish a belt of welfare and security in its region and beyond. "We believe that a fairer world is possible. I reiterated this in several events, including my speech at the United Nations. Bilateral and multilateral platforms are obviously important at this time of crises surrounding the global system. Türkiye and Gulf countries form the main basis for our region's security, stability, welfare and economic integration. Türkiye does not consider the stability and security of the Gulf region separate from its own security and stability," the president underscored.
Source: The Daily Sabah