(Bloomberg) -- President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced that Turkey will begin constructing almost 200,000 homes as early as March in areas devastated by twin earthquakes that hit the southeast of the country two weeks ago.

Erdogan emphasized the severity of the earthquake’s impact, drawing parallels to historical events that wreaked havoc in Anatolia, the heartland of modern Turkey. “With faith, courage and patience, we have resisted numerous political and social upheavals for centuries, such as the Crusades and the Mongol invasions,” he said.

The construction of 199,739 new homes will begin in 11 provinces, including the hardest-hit Hatay and Kahramanmaras, Erdogan said. The death toll from the earthquakes has risen to 41,156 while over 114,000 people have been rescued from the rubble. 

To mitigate the impact of the disaster, Erdogan also announced a series of measures including: 

  • The government’s Credit Guarantee Fund package will rise to 350 billion liras ($19 billion) from 250 billion liras
  • State-run banks will allow tradesmen and farmers to defer their loan repayments for up to a year
  • Each family of those killed in the disaster will receive a cash payment of 100,000 liras ($5,300)
  • Turkish banks will provide 80 billion liras of support to survivors in cash and other forms of aid
  • State-run banks will forgive the loan debts of the deceased
  • Rapid employment will be offered to 20,000 survivors

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