83 contractors in Turkey arrested for contributing to loss of buildings in earthquakes

Turkish courts have arrested 83 people as a result of a series of investigations launched into 309 people involved in the construction business for contributing to last week’s major earthquakes’ catastrophic toll, Turkish Minute reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The 7.8-magnitude quake that struck near the city of Gaziantep as people slept has claimed the lives of 38,044 people across 10 southeastern provinces hardest hit by the disaster, according to the latest official figures. It was followed by thousands of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that struck the region later the same day.

Turkey has erected high-rise buildings across fault lines and swaths of earthquake-prone regions that have been bracing for a major jolt for years.

While 83 people were arrested as a result of investigations regarding buildings that were destroyed by the earthquakes, 62 were released and placed under judicial supervision, Anadolu said.

Turkish prosecutors also launched investigations into 243 people linked to 319 incidents of theft and looting in the earthquake zone, according to Anadolu, with the courts arresting 152 of them and placing 31 under judicial supervision.

Meanwhile, Environment Minister Murat Kurum on Friday informed the public that they had examined a total of 684,000 buildings in earthquake areas and detected 84,726 of them to be “severely damaged, collapsed or to be demolished immediately.”

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) also said they have completed a damage assessment of 680,268 houses and started making payments of TL 10,000 ($530) to each of the families affected by the quakes.

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