The death toll from two major earthquakes that struck southeastern Türkiye on Feb. 6 has risen to 39,672, Interior Minister Soylu said Friday.
Speaking in a live broadcast on CNN Türk via videoconference, Soylu said search and rescue efforts have been the priority following the earthquakes and 20,000 buildings were searched in this regard.
He noted that experts have surveyed almost half of the buildings in earthquake zones for damage assessment in 10 provinces.
Though the latest earthquakes are dubbed the “disaster of the century” due to their sheer scale and unusually high death toll, earthquakes are nothing out of the ordinary with thousands of tremors taking place all over the country. Most of Türkiye is located on the Anatolian tectonic plate, which sits between two major plates, the Eurasian and African, and a minor one, the Arabian. As the larger African and Arabian plates shift, Türkiye is literally being squeezed, while the Eurasian plate impedes any northward movement. Thus, Türkiye sits on several fault lines. The most potentially devastating fault line in the country is the North Anatolian fault line (NAF), where the Anatolian and Eurasian plates meet. It runs from just south of Istanbul all the way to northeastern Türkiye. The NAF has produced devastating earthquakes throughout history.