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Turkey earthquake: death toll rises to 18,991

The new provisional death toll from the two severe earthquakes that shook southern Turkey on Monday rose to at least 18,991 on Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced.

Erdogan, quoted by the Anadolu news agency, was speaking from the province of Adiyaman, where a camp has been set up to accommodate earthquake victims.

The Turkish president said rescue operations had saved 75,523 people, with more than 76,000 evacuated to other provinces since Monday.

Regarding rebuilding and aid to earthquake victims, Mr Erdogan reaffirmed that new houses would be built within a year to replace the collapsed buildings. In the meantime, financial aid equivalent to one year’s rent will be provided to those affected who refuse to live in tents.

Mr Erdogan also assured that a major recovery plan was being prepared by the state to help the provinces hit by the disaster.

For evacuations, Turkish Airlines (THY) will offer free transportation to the victims, the Turkish President said.

At dawn on Monday, an earthquake of 7.7 on the Richter scale struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, followed a few hours later by another 7.6 magnitude earthquake and strong aftershocks, which caused massive loss of life and damage in both countries.

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