Turkey issues earthquake rebuilding rules for devastated region

Turkey issued rebuilding regulations on Friday for a region devastated by earthquakes this month to enable companies or charities to help in the urgent task of building new homes for the millions who need rehousing after the devastating tremors.

More than 160,000 buildings, containing 520,000 apartments, collapsed or were severely damaged in Turkey in the earthquakes.

The Turkish death toll from the tremors now stands at more than 43,500 people, while the toll in neighboring Syria, a nation already shattered by war, is close to 6,000.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild homes within a year, although experts have said the authorities should put safety before speed. Some buildings that were meant to withstand tremors crumbled in the latest earthquakes.

Many survivors have left the region of southern Turkey that was hit or have been settled in tents, container homes and other government-sponsored accommodation.

Under the new regulations, individuals, institutions and organizations will be able to build residences and workplaces that they can donate to the urbanization ministry and those properties will then be handed to those in need, according to a presidential decree published in the Official Gazette.

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