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Death toll from Turkey earthquakes climbs to nearly 46,000 — police chief

A total of 26,300 buildings have collapsed

ANKARA, March 4. /TASS/. The death toll from the devastating earthquakes in Turkey has approached 46,000, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on TRT televisions on Saturday.

"The death toll has risen to 45,968. Of these, 4,267 are citizens of Syria," the minister said adding that more than 13,000 aftershocks had been recorded since the first earthquake.

"A total of 26,300 buildings have collapsed. Search and rescue operations have been carried out on the rubble of 26,032 of them," he said.

Two powerful 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes rocked Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province, located in the country’s southeast, within nine hours on February 6. The quakes have caused extensive destruction and suffering in ten Turkish provinces. The tremors, followed by hundreds of aftershocks, were also felt in neighboring countries, of which Syria was the worst affected.

The Syrian Health Ministry reported that over 1,400 people died in the natural disaster. Since the regions outside Damascus’ control were the most affected, international nongovernmental organizations have fears that the death toll is higher in that country.