Death toll rises to more than 44,000

All search and rescue operations for new survivors have been suspended, nearly three weeks after the disaster, Afad said, noting that no living person had been extracted from the rubble for several days. Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said 520,000 buildings had collapsed or were due for demolition, adding that 4 million and 511,000 homes were examined in 11 quake-hit states.

For his part, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the authorities have opened 564 investigations against real estate developers and construction companies on the background of the collapse of thousands of buildings supposed to be anti-seismic.

As a reminder, two new earthquakes of magnitudes 6.4 and 5.8 on the Richter scale shook the Turkish province of Hatay, in southern Turkey, on Monday evening. The first quake, whose epicenter was located in the locality of Defne, occurred at 8:04 p.m. (local time) at a depth of 16.7 km, while the second occurred 3 minutes later, with the epicenter in the district of Samandağ, 7 km deep.

Last February 6, a violent earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 on the Richter scale shook the district of Pazarcık in Kahramanmaraş, causing enormous damage in the localities of “Gaziantep”, “Adana”, “Malatya “, “Diyarbakir”, “Sanliurfa” and “Osmaniye”, in addition to the epicenter.

A few hours after this first violent tremor, another earthquake struck north of the city of Gaziantep with almost the same intensity and near the epicenter of the first earthquake, which worsened the toll of the disaster.

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