Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has announced that six more provinces have been added to a list of earthquake-stricken areas due to the devastation caused by two powerful earthquakes in February.
AFAD’s decision to declare six more provinces part of the earthquake zone has come almost two months after the earthquakes, which hit Turkey’s south and southeast regions on Feb. 6, killing more than 50,000 people.
The provinces of Bingöl, Kayseri, Mardin, Tunceli, Niğde and Batman joined 11 other provinces in the two regions that were hit by the powerful earthquakes.
AFAD’s statement said the six provinces have been included in the disaster zone due to the presence of buildings with slight, moderate or heavy damage there.
When a province is declared a disaster zone, residents of that province can take advantage of certain benefits and state funds aimed at mitigating the effects of the disaster.
The provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Hatay, Gaziantep, Osmaniye, Malatya, Adıyaman, Adana, Diyarbakır, Kilis, Şanlıurfa and Elazığ were declared a disaster zone shortly after the earthquakes.
One day after the earthquakes the Turkish government declared a three-month state of emergency in these provinces.
Turkey will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14. The fact that elections will be held under a state of emergency in the earthquake zone has led to concerns as to whether or not the elections can be held in a free and fair manner.