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Turkey rescue efforts scale back whilst experts predict cost of destruction

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The rescue efforts following the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, which has become the most devastating earthquake in a decade, are beginning to scale back as officials take stock of the aftermath and the cost of the damage.

Survivors found

An 18-year-old man was pulled from the rubble of a building in southern Turkey, the third rescue on Tuesday (14 February), 198 hours after the earthquake as aid workers shifted focus to those across Turkey and Syria left homeless.

Rescuers also pulled two brothers alive from the ruins of an apartment block in Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, who Anadolu news agency named as 17-year-old Muhammed Enes Yeninar and his brother, 21-year-old Baki Yeninar. They were taken to hospital although their condition was unclear.

Rescuers continued to work through the night to rescue people clinging to life. Some teams have started scaling back operations as low temperatures reduce the slim chances of survival. Some Polish rescuers, among many multinational teams that flew in, announced they would leave on Wednesday.

The cost of rebuilding

A report published at the weekend by the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation put the cost of the damage at $84.1 billion – $70.8 billion from the repair of thousands of homes, plus $10.4 billion from loss of national income and $2.9 billion from loss of working days.

The main costs were said to be rebuilding housing, transmission lines and infrastructure, and meeting the short, medium and long-term shelter needs of the hundreds of thousands left homeless.

13.4 million people live in the 10 provinces by hit by the quake, making up 15% of Turkey’s population, and producing around 10% of gross domestic product.

Economists and officials estimated the quake would cut economic growth by up two percentage points this year.

A three-month state of emergency has been declared in the 10 provinces affected and the central bank has postponed payments on some loans. The Treasury declared force majeure until the end of July and postponed tax payments for the region.

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