Turkish PM admits mistakes in quake response

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Turkish PM admits mistakes in quake response

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The Turkish prime minister has admitted that mistakes were made in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s earthquake.

As thousands of victims in the mountainous eastern Van province queued to spend a fourth night in makeshift shelters, complaints were growing over the government’s handling.

Several relief lorries – 17 from one charity alone – have been looted, while the driver of another was beaten while its load was stolen.

Some victims from the majority Kurd population have accused the authorities of ethnic discrimination.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed suggestions that not enough tents had been sent, but the prime minister did concede that the initial scramble to help victims could have been smoother.

“We admit that we failed in the beginning, within the first 24 hours. We acknowledge flaws but these mistakes are pretty normal in such incidents,” he said.

After initially refusing help, the Turkish government said it would accept aid – especially shelter – offered by around 30 countries.

As the death toll approached 500, the discovery of survivors amid the debris has raised spirits. But with each passing hour, the chances of finding more people alive diminishes.