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Türkiye earthquake: A year later, some survivors are still living in tents and shipping containers

Türkiye earthquake: A year later, some survivors are still living in tents and shipping containers


Tuesday marks one year since the devastating earthquake that struck Türkiye.


A year after the devastating earthquake destroyed wide swaths of southern and central Turkey, many survivors of the disaster are still living in temporary accommodation, such as shipping containers and tents.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck in the early hours of February 6 last year was the deadliest in modern Turkey, killing more than 53,000 people in the country and about 6,000 in neighboring Syria. Millions more became homeless.

In Antioch, the most affected city, 90% of its buildings were destroyed. People living there are still grieving for their deceased families and friends, struggling to rebuild their livelihoods and looking to bring closure to cases where their loved ones are still missing. Unemployment is rampant.

Survivors are still waiting for the help promised by the government.

Kamel Azar, a truck driver from Antioch, is one of them. He has been living in his truck since the earthquake.

He told Euronews: “The state did not explain anything to us. They just demolished it. We have no information. They told us that they would offer us an apartment. When and how, we do not know.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to deliver some 319,000 new homes by next month, ahead of key local elections in March. His promise to rebuild quickly helped him win re-election last May despite widespread anger over the government's initially slow response to the earthquake.

The economic pressures are now evident that a third of the population and tourists, once so vital, have disappeared.

The authorities want to start rebuilding businesses to bring residents back to life, but without the right infrastructure, success seems impossible.

Orhan Ozturk reopened his small gold shop two weeks ago after clearing the rubble in front of it, yet he did not have many customers.

“We thought about (leaving), but where will we go? This is our homeland.”

The Red Cross says hundreds of thousands of people in the earthquake zone who have lost their source of income are still relying on support. “The road to rebuilding and recovery is long, and requires sustained international support,” said Jesse Thompson, who leads the relief agency in Turkey.

Cevdet Donmez, 30, was lucky enough to get a container from the government, but his job as a window installer is over. To support his mother, wife and three children, Donmez got a job removing furniture from damaged buildings slated for demolition.

He added: “We are in a bad situation.” “We suddenly lost everything. How will we be able to recover? How can we provide a good future for our children? I don’t know.”

Emre Ceylan lost nine members of his family in the earthquake, and his barber shop was destroyed. He recently purchased a container and converted it into a barber shop, which he is eager to open as soon as he can connect to electricity.

“We didn't realize how good our lives were until the earthquake took everything from us,” he said.




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