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Construction has begun on 180,000 homes in areas in southeastern Turkey hit hard by devastating earthquakes in February.

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Earthquake in Turkey and Syria 668

This was announced today by the Minister of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate Change Mehmet Ozhaseki, quoted by the state television TRT-Haber and BTA.

He added that work is currently underway on projects to build another 140,<> houses.

Ozhaseki said the new government's top priority was "normalisation of life" in the 11 counties hit hard by the Feb. 6 earthquakes.

The 7.6 and 7.7 quakes on February 6 in southern Turkey killed more than 50,000 people and left millions homeless.

We aim to accommodate our citizens in their new and safe homes as soon as possible. We don't have time to rest. In this regard, we started the construction of about 180,120 homes in the eleven counties affected by the earthquakes. 389,21 of these homes are being built by TOKI (Turkey's Housing Development Administration), 921,37 by Emlak Konut and 129,<> farmhouses from the General Directorate of Construction Works, Ozhaseki said.

Projects for another 139,561 houses are currently being prepared. In this way, by the end of the year we will complete 319,<> homes and provide our citizens with safe and healthy homes, he said.

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The minister added that most houses will be built in Hatay County, which was literally destroyed in the earthquakes.

New buildings are planned to be relatively low.

Earthquake in Turkey and Syria