A month after quake, survivors struggle for shelter, sanitation


A month after a strong earthquake parts of Turkish And SyriaHundreds of thousands of people still need adequate shelter and sanitation, and a $1 billion appeal to help survivors is funded at only 10 percent, hampering efforts to tackle the humanitarian crisis, a United Nations official said Monday .

The February 6 earthquake and strong aftershocks killed nearly 47,000 people in Turkiye, destroyed or damaged about 214,000 buildings and left hundreds of thousands homeless, making it the worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history.

The UN estimates the earthquake killed about 6,000 people in Syria, mostly in the rebel-held northwest.

About 2 million survivors have been moved to temporary accommodation or evacuated from the earthquake-ravaged area, according to Turkish government figures.

About 1.5 million people have been housed in tents, while another 46,000 have been moved to container houses. Others live in dormitories and boarding houses, the government said.

“Given the number of people relocated, the number of people injured and the magnitude of the devastation, we now have extensive humanitarian needs,” Alvaro Rodriguez, the UN resident coordinator in Turkey, told The Associated. Press.

“We have some counties where up to 25 percent of the population, we’re talking about half a million people sometimes, have moved. So the challenge we face is how to provide these communities with food, shelter and water, ” he said. .

The UN representative said tents are still necessary, even if they are not “the optimal solution” for protecting people. He reported some cases of scabies outbreaks due to poor sanitary conditions.

Last month, the UN made a flash appeal for $397.6 million to help Syrian earthquake victims and $1 billion for victims in Turkey to cover emergency needs such as food, protection, education, water and shelter for three months. Rodriguez said the call for Turkey is only funded at about 10 percent.

Also Read: Turkiye, Syria earthquake: Syrians shelter in tents and cars as death toll rises above 47,000

“The reality is that if we don’t go beyond the roughly 10 percent we have, the UN and its partners will not be able to meet humanitarian needs,” he said.

Rodriguez added: “Turkey is a country that has supported 4 million Syrian refugees in recent years, and this is an opportunity for the international community to provide the support Turkey deserves.”

The World Bank estimates the earthquake caused an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damage — the equivalent of 4 percent of Turkey’s GDP in 2021. The World Bank said recovery and reconstruction costs will be much higher and GDP losses due to economic disruptions will also add to the cost of the earthquakes.

Faced with tough presidential and parliamentary elections in May, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pledged to rebuild hundreds of thousands of homes for earthquake survivors within a year.

More than 1.74 million refugees lived in the 11 Turkish provinces hit by the earthquakes, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Turkey’s interior minister said 4,267 of those killed in Turkey were Syrian nationals.

Rodriguez said about 40,000 Syrians in Turkey have returned home to check family or economic assets such as land or housing that may have been affected by the earthquake there.

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