Deadly Earthquakes Hit Turkey, Syria

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40,000 people are believed to be dead after two earthquakes ( 7.8 and 7.6 magnitudes) rocked the Turkey-Syria border a week ago. Rescue and recovery efforts are underway and the death toll is expected to climb to 50,000.

Now, investigations have been launched into building contractors who claimed their buildings were safe, but they allegedly weren’t and 113 arrest warrants were approved.

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, Jeff Flake, joins us to discuss these efforts overseas.

The latest with search and rescue operations

Ten days after the earthquake, a 17-year-old girl was found alive underneath all the ruble caused by the tumble of the buildings, Flake reports. But as of right now, Flake said the focus has shifted from rescue operations to recovery efforts.

What are Turkey’s greatest needs after the earthquake?

“Many people who have their apartment buildings devastated or disseminated can’t go back and also, people simply don’t trust going back into large buildings right now. Until those buildings are certified as safe they can’t go back in and that affects millions of people,” said Flake. “Tents, that’s one thing the Turkish Government has been asking for; plastic sheeting, tents, kitchen issues, etc.”

Is Turkey forever changed by this earthquake?

“The worst earthquake I think now in Turkey’s history,” said Flake. Flake predicts the death toll will continue to rise as the days go on by.

But despite all the negative brought on forth by this natural disaster, Flake emphasizes room for improved safety precautions in Turkey.

Turkey “has good engineers and good standards and they build roads here very well and obviously there is going to be a lot more care, I think, going into the future on how they build buildings up to standard,” said Flake. “I think they will recover but boy this is a big one.”

Ambassador Jeff Flake

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