Turkey speeds up reconstruction plans as earthquake death toll nears 50,000

Turkey begins reconstruction for 1.5 million people left homeless by earthquake

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It said it had requested $113.5 million of the $1 billion in funds appealed by the United Nations last week, adding that it would focus the money on clearing mountains of debris.

UNDP estimates that the disaster produced between 116 million and 210 million tons of debris, compared with 13 million tons of debris after the 1999 earthquake in northwest Turkey.

Turkey also issued new rules under which companies and charities can build homes and workplaces for those in need, donated to the Ministry of Urbanization.

Many survivors have fled the region of southern Turkey that was hit by the quake or have settled in tents, container houses and other government-sponsored housing.

In Antakya, Seyid Sleiman Ertoglu, 56, loaded his remaining stock from his waterpipe shop that was not damaged.

“The glassware was very beautiful, more than usual, but then we had this (the earthquake), and it was all ruined,” he said, adding that his house and shop survived the first tremor, but not the latter. He estimated that only 5% of his cargo survived.

“what can we do?” They said. “It is an act of God, and the will of God always gives gifts.”

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