A week after the devastating earthquake struck southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria, rescue teams manage every now and then to pull out a person who had been stuck under the rubble.
But hopes of finding more survivors under the rubble are diminishing. The recent number of dead in Turkey and Syria has exceeded 37,000 and is expected to continue to rise.
The Turkish Disaster Management Authority (AFAD) had said in a previous statement that the 7.8-magnitude earthquake left 31,543 dead in southern Turkey, while the authorities in Syria counted 3,581 dead in Syria.
The United Nations advised that the number may "double."
About 13.4 million people, or 15 per cent of Turkey's population, live in the 10 earthquake-hit regions, representing nearly 10 per cent of the gross domestic product.
Similarly, about four million live in areas outside the government-control the northwest, and millions in other government-control cities were affected by the quake.
Cost in Turkey
The Turkish Industry & Business Association (TIBA) described the earthquake as the worst in Turkey in nearly 100 years, adding that it left damage that could cost Ankara up to $84.1 billion.
Meanwhile, a government official estimated the losses at more than $50 billion.
A report published by TIBA at the weekend said that out of the estimated $84.1 billion, $70.8 billion is needed for the restoration of thousands of damaged homes, $10.4 billion in national income losses, and $2.9 billion in losses related to working days.
According to the report, the main costs will be to rebuild houses, transportation, and infrastructure, in addition to meeting the short, medium, and long-term needs to shelter hundreds of thousands who have become homeless.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised that the country will complete housing rebuilding within a year and that the government is preparing a programme to "make the country rise again."
According to estimates by economists and officials, the earthquake will reduce economic growth by two per cent this year.
The Turkish government had been expecting a growth of 5.5 per cent for the year 2023 before the earthquake.
Turkey is scheduled to hold presidential and parliamentary elections late in the spring, the biggest challenge facing Erdogan since he came to power 20 years ago.
A state of emergency was declared for three months in the 10 affected provinces, as the central bank delayed the payment of some loans.
The Treasury Department declared force majeure until the end of July and postponed the due date for paying taxes in the affected area.
Syrian health system collapse
In a report published last Friday, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warned of the health system's collapse in northwest Syria.
IRC stated that medical facilities "lack urgent medical supplies, such as saline solutions, painkillers, medical bandages, and blood bags, alongside other urgent needs, including fuel for generators and burial bags."
"The number who are sick," the statement read, “will only get worse as those who have survived this disaster are left out in freezing temperatures due to the destruction of their homes. Without more funding, supplies, and unrestricted humanitarian access urgently, the results could be catastrophic."