5 months after major earthquakes in southeastern Turkey, survivors still have difficulty accessing basic supplies

Five months after major earthquakes hit southeastern Turkish provinces, access to clean water and food remains severely limited, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

Nearly half a year after the disaster, humanitarian aid has dwindled in the region. In the first few weeks, charity organizations and volunteers were pivotal in distributing food, tents and clean water. However, as many volunteers have left the region, earthquake victims are having difficulty accessing basic supplies. 

This problem poses serious health concerns as temperatures rise during the summer months. Although Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has been distributing basic hygiene supplies, water and food in tent cities, it is not possible for many victims to travel to these distribution points daily. 

Moreover, existing supplies were reportedly stolen due to a lack of adequate security in some cities. 

Another major problem is access to healthcare, as many victims do not have the financial means or vehicles to travel to hospitals, which have been moved outside the cities. Local populations are demanding that authorities ensure periodic health screenings to control the spread of contagious disease.

Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years, which struck near the city of Gaziantep in the early hours of February 6, has so far claimed the lives of 36,187 people in Turkey in addition to injuring more than 100,000. Close to 220,000 disaster victims have been evacuated from the region to date, according to the latest official figures.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue efforts the same day.

After the quakes, social media users also complained about the lack of basic necessities, such as water, blankets and tents as well as medical supplies. Months after the disaster, victims still have trouble accessing these necessities. 

Additionally, as temperatures are expected to rise to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), survivors living in tent cities will need things like air conditioners and refrigerators. However, many are not optimistic that the government will be able to meet their needs. While it has become more difficult to maintain hygiene, flies, insects and mice have become serious problems in tent cities, and outbreaks of disease are expected. 

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