EU pledges €1 billion for reconstruction in quake hit Turkey
The European Union will provide 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to support reconstruction efforts in Turkey after devastating earthquakes, the head of the European Commission said on Monday.
"Millions are now homeless and living in tents as the winter drags on," Commission head Ursula von der Leyen told a conference held to provide support for survivors.
"Homes and schools and hospitals must be rebuilt, with the highest standards of seismic safety. Water and sanitation and other critical infrastructure must be repaired. Public services and businesses need capital to restart."
She said the Commission would spend a further 108 million euros on humanitarian assistance and early recovery in Syria, where the EU does not have diplomatic ties with the administration over a civil war that started in 2011.
Addressing the Brussels conference via videolink, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan put the cost of the earthquake at $104 billion, saying Turkey would rebuild 319,000 homes in the first year.
"It is not possible for a single nation to tackle a crisis of this scale on its own," he said, adding:
"We will never forget the solidarity displayed by all our friends, the EU with its institutions, member and candidate countries, by the UN, and other international organizations, in these difficult days."
The death toll in Turkey due to the twin earthquakes on 6 February has been updated on Monday as 50,096, the number of injured as over 107,000.
The head of Turkey's disaster agency AFAD said that a total of 11,488 rescuers from 90 countries have taken part in search and rescue operations.