Feb 7, 2023
Quake Latest: Turkish Rescuers Race Against Time in Cold Weather
Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency in areas struck by two massive earthquakes earlier this week, allowing the government more leeway for rescue and reconstruction efforts.
Emergency teams are racing against the clock to save potentially thousands of victims trapped in rubble after 10 Turkish cities were struck on Monday. The death toll across Turkey and neighboring Syria is nearing 8,000, while more than 11,000 buildings have been damaged from the temblors, trapping many inside in freezing temperatures.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government is overwhelmed by the extent of the logistical problems and aid needed to assist the 13.4 million people living in the areas affected by the disaster. Many countries have pledged to help, including the US.
The twin earthquakes had magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6, striking Turkey’s southeast and causing widespread destruction there and in neighboring Syria. Roads and airports were damaged, while crude-oil flows to a key export terminal were halted for more than 24 hours as a precaution.
- Turkey Orders Restart of Crude Oil Flows to Ceyhan Terminal
- CityLab Daily: The City Hardest-Hit by Turkey’s Earthquake
- BTC Oil Port to Stay Shut Through Weds After Quake: Port Agent
- Twin Turkey Quakes Kill Thousands: Mideast Newsletter
(All times Istanbul, GMT +3)
Turkey’s Death Toll Nears 6,000 (3:45 a.m.)
Turkey’s vice president said the death toll in the country has climbed to 5,894, local news agency Anadolu reported. That pushes the reported total in the nation and neighboring Syria to nearly 8,000 as rescuers spend a second night seeking survivors in the rubble.
Scenes of young children, a pregnant woman and other victims still being pulled to safety highlight the thousands of people who have been rescued so far.
Death Toll Exceeds 5,000 (21:35 p.m.)
Fatalities in Turkey rose to 5,434 with more than 31,000 injured, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.
Turkey Treasury Allows Companies to Declare Force Majeure (8:11 p.m.)
Turkey’s Treasury and Finance Ministry extended payment period for taxes, other payables to the government for companies in areas struck by the quake until July 31.
Turkey Death Toll Surpasses 4,500 (7:50 p.m.)
Turkey’s number of fatalities rose to 4,544 with more than 26,000 injured, disaster management agency AFAD said. In Syria, almost 1,600 have been confirmed dead, according to the Associated Press, including both government and rebel-held areas.
Egypt’s Sisi Offers Condolences, Aid to Erdogan (6:54 p.m.)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi offered humanitarian aid to Turkey over the quakes, according to a statement. Turkey and Egypt recently began to normalize their ties following years of a strained relationship.
Turkish Stocks Enter Bear Market (6:16 p.m.)
The benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index closed 8.6% lower on Tuesday in a broad-based selloff, with Turkish Airlines and the refiner Turkiye Petrol Rafinerileri AS weighing on the gauge. The index, which is the worst-performing major equity market in the world this year, has dropped 20% from its peak in Jan. 2 and entered a technical bear market.
The removal of a temporary deposit rule, which requires traders to have stocks ready in their brokerage account in order to execute trades, by the country’s market regulator likely exacerbated the move on Tuesday, which was the biggest drop since March 2021.
Thousands Grapple With Devastation in Northern Syria (5:51 p.m.)
In northern Syria, an area dealing with death, destruction and displacement caused by war and conflict for more than a decade, people were trying to respond to the consequences of the devastating earthquake and aftershocks with limited resources. “This catastrophe is much bigger than us, we need the intervention of states,” emergency response force White Helmets co-founder Ismail Al-Abdullah told Bloomberg.
Mohamed Hamze, spokesman the Syrian American Medical Society, said there’s an urgent need for medical and surgical supplies. He urged global actors to work with Turkey on opening all major border crossings between Syria and Turkey to allow relief and rescue equipment, teams and supplies to flow in as quickly as possible.
Northwest Syria is home to about 4.4 million people. The area is under the control of a mishmash of rebel groups — some of them backed by Turkey following multiple cross-border offensives in recent years.
International Aid Efforts Continue With UAE pledge (4:34 p.m.)
United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed will grant $100 million as aid for earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey, split equally between the two countries, according to state news agency WAM.
Rescue teams from Romania, Switzerland, Azerbaijan and Lebanon have already been deployed in the quake zone, Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay said, as part of a broad international effort to respond to the crisis.
The European Union has sent more than 1,150 rescue workers from 19 European countries, according to the EU Commission.
Here Are the Oil Pipelines Affected by the Earthquakes
Two pipelines affected carry oil from Azerbaijan and Iraq to Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean coast for export to world markets.
Turkey ordered the restart of flows following post-earthquake checks. Iraq’s state oil company said it hopes to resume on Tuesday afternoon.
Ruling AK Party Lawmaker Dead in Quake (4:15 p.m.)
Erdogan’s governing AK Party MP Yakup Tas died in the earthquake in Adiyaman province, parliament speaker Mustafa Sentop said on Twitter.
Turkey Public Spending Could be 5.5% of GDP (3:22 p.m.)
Disaster-related public spending after the quakes including rebuilding efforts may amount to 5.5% of the GDP, according to Bloomberg Economics. A potential government-backed loans program could result in a higher figure and breach state budget targets. Calculations take into consideration government spending after previous high-magnitude quakes.
Erdogan said his government has allocated an initial 100 billion liras ($5.3 billion) of resources to the disaster area.
Erdogan Declares State of Emergency (2:53 p.m.)
The Turkish president declared a three-month state of emergency in 10 provinces to cope with the aftermath of the twin earthquakes.
Emergency rule, which needs to be approved by parliament, would enable the government to take extraordinary security and financial measures in the stricken areas.
Turkish Stocks Selloff Deepens (2:27 p.m.)
Turkey’s benchmark Borsa Istanbul 100 Index extended its slide to 7.8% as it resumed trading after triggering a second market-wide circuit breaker at 7%. Shares extended a selloff that started on Monday following the two major earthquakes, with 97 stocks falling.
The yield on 10-year government bonds surged 55 basis points to 11.57%, the highest level in 12 weeks.
Turkey Orders Resumption of Crude Oil Flow to Ceyhan Terminal (11:20 a.m.)
Turkey ordered the restart of oil flows to its Ceyhan export terminal on the Mediterranean, according to an official with direct knowledge of the matter. The state pipeline operator had halted flows as a precaution on Monday morning and gave the restart order after completing its checks, the official said, adding that flows would begin shortly.
Iraq hopes to resume pumping oil through Turkey on Tuesday afternoon after safety checks revealed no damage.
Turkish Aid Workers, Ships, Planes in Emergency Response (10:40 a.m.)
Turkey said it deployed a total of 24,443 rescue workers, 10 ships and more than 50 airplanes to pull victims out of damaged buildings and evacuate some of the injured from the disaster zone.
Oil Prices Up on Ceyhan Exports Halt (10:24 a.m.)
Oil prices were up on Tuesday partly due to a halt in exports from Turkey’s Ceyhan terminal on the Mediterranean.
The facility at Ceyhan serving Azeri oil will be shut on Tuesday and Wednesday, Tribeca Shipping, a port agent, said on Monday. It’s unclear if the rest of the terminal — including parts handling Iraqi flows — will also be shut for that period.
Iskenderun Port Blaze Rages (6:00 a.m.)
Firefighters have been battling flames in a section of the Iskenderun port on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, damaging an area where there were a number of shipping containers, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
--With assistance from Gina Turner, Firat Kozok, Beril Akman, Ugur Yilmaz, Tugce Ozsoy, Taylan Bilgic, Inci Ozbek, Sam Dagher, Kateryna Kadabashy and Demetrios Pogkas.
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