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Turkey earthquake: One ruined neighbourhood at the centre of the devastation

Monday’s double earthquake in Turkey and Syria caused devastation across the region, killing thousands and destroying buildings and neighbourhoods in dozens on cities.

In Kahramanmaras, which was near the epicentre of both quakes, aerial photographs reveal the extent of the damage caused in just one of those neighbourhoods.

BBC analysis using a mixture of satellite images, photos and drone footage from before and after the earthquake shows how much of the area around the city’s 12 Subat stadium has been flattened in the disaster.

The satellite image taken after the earthquakes is dominated by the tent city that has been set up in the stadium – usually the home of Kahramanmarasspor football club – but now filled with more than 200 tents, each capable of sheltering a family or even two.

The large Gazi middle school near the stadium is still standing but looks badly damaged – two neighbouring residential tower blocks, next to the school, were completely collapsed.

On a normal Monday, some 2,000 students would have been attending lessons at Gazi middle school.

But schools across the country were closed until 13 February after the first quake struck before dawn on Monday.

​​It is as you round the corner of Kuddusi Baba Boulevard and into the usually busy shopping street of Azerbaijan Boulevard that the full scale of destruction begins to unfold.

Before Monday the street was full of shops and cafes, many with several storeys of apartments above them, but all that is left now is rubble.

And looking back towards the stadium over the ruined the apartment blocks you can see the private Sular hospital – damaged but still standing – although the four-star Sahra hotel next door was among the flattened buildings.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the tent city in the stadium on Wednesday where he met survivors and defended the state’s response amid criticism it had been too slow.

He acknowledged there had been “issues at airports and on the roads” but insisted the situation was improving, adding: “We have mobilised all our resources. The state is doing its job.”

It’s not known how many have died in the city but on Tuesday evening officials said more than 1,200 people had died in the province – the death toll nationally has more than trebled to almost 13,000 since that last province-by-province update.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) says it has sent more than 140,000 tents and 1.2m blankets to the 10 provinces worst hit by the disaster.

An estimated 2,000 people could be sheltering in the 12 Subat stadium but tens of thousands more have been left homeless across Turkey and neighbouring Syria.

Source : BBC