Disaster resilient schools funded by World Bank, EU withstood quakes in Turkey

Photo: GFDRR

Disaster resilient schools built in southern Turkey with support from the World Bank, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the EU have withstood earthquakes that struck the region in early February, according to a press release from the World Bank.

According to the World Bank, 57 schools have been built in Turkey by the education ministry to be safer and more resilient to disaster since 2017, with 24 of these schools located in areas hit by the devastating earthquakes, all of which survived the disaster. 

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck near the Turkish city of Gaziantep – home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria – as people were sleeping on February 6 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.

“Around 5% of the 20,000 education buildings in the earthquake-affected areas collapsed, or were either severely or moderately damaged,” the World Bank said.

Schools have been built in accordance with international earthquake engineering standards under the auspices of the Education Infrastructure for Resilience Project, the bank said.

According to UNICEF, the education of nearly 4 million school-enrolled children was disrupted, including more than 350,000 refugee and migrant children.

Relief organizations say the impact of the earthquakes will be felt for months and years to come.

Around 2.7 million people remain internally displaced in the country. Shelter, water sanitation facilities, healthcare, protection (including mental health and psychosocial support) and continuity of learning remain priority needs, according to UNICEF Turkey.

The damage in Turkey alone could amount to over $100 billion, the UN said and launched a $1 billion funding appeal to support millions of people in Turkey.

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