Eleven months after two devastating earthquakes hit Turkey’s southeastern provinces, grassroots workers said people living in the region were still struggling with a lack of electricity and housing and other infrastructural problems, Voice of America (VoA) Turkish service reported.
Magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes affected 11 provinces in the country’s south and southeast on February 6, killing more than 50,000 people and leaving millions homeless. Hatay province was the most affected by the disaster, and many areas are still waiting to be cleared of rubble and debris.
Coming together in the city center, grassroot representatives called on the authorities to attend to the problems that are negatively affecting Hatay residents. Ece Dogru, who works for an association that focuses on earthquake victims, said as the first anniversary of the disaster approaches, victims were still struggling to access healthcare, housing, electricity, clean water, public transport and education for their children.
“Although 11 months have passed, the people of Hatay are still struggling on an everyday basis,” said Ekrem Deveci, who founded an association to support victims. “We still have restricted access to clean water, electricity and housing. School buildings are still damaged, and our children are being schooled in containers. How are they supposed to compete with their peers in national examinations?”
Grassroots worker Ekrem Reyhanlı complained about the negligence of authorities. “The earthquakes were a natural disaster, but the real disaster is the complete negligence of authorities. They have not put in the effort to make the city habitable. Furthermore, people are still living in tent cities that are prone to floods every time it rains. Our children are scared.”
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 more than 50,000 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.
After the quakes, social media users complained about the lack of basic necessities, such as water, blankets and tents as well as medical supplies. Months after the disaster, victims still had trouble accessing these necessities.