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Erdogan Admits ‘Shortcomings’ with Turkey’s Quake Response
By Staff, Agencies
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday acknowledged “shortcomings” in Turkey’s initial response to the massive earthquake that claimed thousands of lives.
Speaking to reporters in the Kahramanmaras province near the quake’s epicenter, Erdogan said there were problems with roads and airports, but that everything would get better by the day. He added that the death toll in his country had risen to over 8,500 and that some 13.5 million people were affected in an area spanning 280 miles.
"Of course, there are shortcomings. The conditions are clear to see. It's not possible to be ready for a disaster like this," Erdogan said in his most direct response yet to accusations that his government failed to supply a sufficient number of rescuers and aid.
His government aims to build housing within one year for those left without a home in the 10 provinces affected, Erdogan noted, as he made his first visit to the devastated region since Monday – when two massive quakes hit Turkey and Syria within hours.
Enraged residents told AFP that state agencies have failed to arrive in time with food, tents, or equipment to search for trapped survivors. AFP correspondents also saw anguished relatives use their bare hands to find loved ones under the rubble in some hard-hit locations.
The most destructive in decades, the initial tremor wrought havoc on hospitals, airports, and roads, and knocked down more than 6,400 buildings in Turkey. He also said citizens should only heed communication from authorities and ignore "provocateurs."
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