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Heavy rain compounds misery of earthquake survivors in southern Turkey

Heavy rain in southern Turkey has compounded the misery of survivors who have been living in tents following earthquakes that affected 11 Turkish provinces with a total population of nearly 13 million in early February, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the local media.

The earthquake survivors are still facing problems a month after the disaster and are now living in tent camps in harsh winter conditions and facing serious health issues. Due to the heavy rain on Monday, they had to leave their tents in the southern province of Hatay.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep ÔÇô home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria ÔÇô as people were sleeping on February 6 was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

Survivors called on authorities to increase the capacity of sites hosting thousands of tents.

A total of 433,536 tents have been set up since the earthquake at 354 sites, according to Interior Minister S├╝leyman Soylu.

The death toll from the earthquakes now stands at more than 48,000 in Turkey, Soylu said on Monday, as authorities rush to set up container cities to house for the longer term those left homeless by the disaster.

A top United Nations official earlier said the damage alone amounted to more than $100 billion, with extra money needed for recovery costs.

President Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan has pledged to rebuild homes within a year, but it will be many months before thousands can leave their tents or container housing and daily queues for food and move into permanent housing.

Soylu said the government plans to set up 115,585 containers for as many families in 239 sites across the affected region. He said 23 sites had been established so far and that 21,000 containers were set up, with 85,000 people living in them.

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