Turkish President Erdogan vows to re-build earthquake hit areas in one year

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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to rebuild areas hit by two deadly earthquakes within a year as he toured one of the worst-stricken towns on Wednesday.

Speaking on a visit to a tented community of displaced people in Kahramanmaras, Erdogan said his government had mobilized all available means to deal with the fallout from the quakes that hit the country on Monday, which have killed almost 10,000 people across Turkey and Syria to date.

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Obstacles including harsh weather conditions and damage to infrastructure have been overcome, he said, and basic supplies such as gas cannisters used for heating are on their way.

“We aim to rebuild homes in Kahramanmaras and nine other provinces within one year,” Erdogan said, before heading to another quake zone in Hatay province. “If anyone prefers not to stay in tents, we can transfer them to hotels in Alanya, Mersin and Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast,” he said.

A handout of 10,000 lira ($531) will be given to each family affected by the quakes, the president said.

The scale of the disaster remains unknown but Bloomberg Economics estimates that quake-related public spending, including rebuilding efforts, can make up 5.5 percent of the gross domestic product.

Erdogan is working on the assumption that general elections will be held as planned in Turkey in May, according to people familiar with the matter, despite the logistical challenges. He declared a three-month state-of-emergency on Tuesday for the provinces hit by the quake, which will allow him to take swift security and financial measures in response to the disaster.

“We had some difficulties the first day but control of the situation was taken on the second day and today,” Erdogan said.

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