ANKARA, March 10. /TASS/. Almost 48,000 people were killed by the devastating earthquakes that struck Turkey in February, Murat Kurum, the environment and urbanization minister, said on Friday.
"The earthquakes in Kahramanmaras killed 47,932 people, according to the latest data," the minister said in comments broadcast by the TRT television channel.
He said 96.6% of the buildings that were toppled by the quakes had been constructed before 1999.
"We have completed counting the damage in five provinces [out of 11]. In others, it’s 90% complete. Inspections of 1,706,000 buildings have been done, of which 821,302 were found to be seriously damaged and must be knocked down," Kurum said.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said earlier on Friday that the death toll reached more than 47,000.
Powerful 7.7 and 7.6-magnitude earthquakes rocked Turkey’s Kahramanmaras province in the country’s southeast on February 6. The tremors, followed by thousands of aftershocks, were felt in 11 provinces as well as in neighboring countries, of which Syria was the hardest hit. The UN estimated Turkey’s damage from the disaster could be valued at more than $100 billion.