A month has passed since the killers earthquakes on the Turkish-Syrian border that claimed the lives of 46,000 people. The calendar showed February 6th and it was 4:17 in the morning when everyone turned their eyes to Turkey and Syria and sank into mourning.
“The worst Natural Disaster in Europe for a century,” according to the World Health Organization, left behind a country full of trauma. Dead, cities in ruins, new life in tents or containers: a month later millions of Turks are facing the effects of the disaster.
Human and material account
The 7.8-magnitude quake – which was followed a few hours later by another 7.6-magnitude tremor – killed nearly 46,000 people (whose bodies have been identified) and injured another 105,000 in Turkey, according to the so-far undisclosed count. are considered final.
also were completely destroyed or largely 214,000 buildings – many of which were more than ten stories tall – in eleven of the country’s 81 provinces.
Nearly 6,000 people were killed in neighboring Syria.
Turkish towns in the provinces of Kahramanmaras near the epicenter and Hatay on the border with Syria were destroyed, forcing authorities to hastily bury thousands of people in makeshift cemeteries they set up in fields and forests.
Turkish authorities estimate that 14 million people were affected by the earthquake, which is one sixth of the Turkish population. Among them, 3.3 million were forced to flee the affected areas, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Almost 2 million people now live in tents or shipping containers.
More than 13,000 aftershocks have been recorded in one month.
But who is responsible?
In the affected areas, anger remains strong against the state, which took up to 50 hours to respond to the disaster – mainly by sending in the army and its media – while tens of thousands of people remained trapped in the rubble.
Erdogan acknowledged the delays, which he attributed in part to bad weather and the scale of the devastation spanning 20,000 square kilometers, and apologized to citizens.
Polls show, as reported by the Athens News Agency, that the Turks hold the contractors and builders of the buildings more responsible for the extent of the destruction.
Criminal charges have been brought against 612 people involved in the construction of the collapsed buildings, the Turkish Ministry of Justice announced in late February. Many were arrested while trying to leave the country.
However, no official has resigned, with the exception of the mayor of a small town.
Cost to the economy
The Turkish economy – which was already going through a period of turmoil before the disaster, with the country’s currency collapsing – must now deal with the effects of the earthquake.
The damages caused exceed 34 billion dollars, i.e. 4% of the Turkish GDP, the World Bank has estimated.
This estimate does not take into account the cost of reconstruction, “which may be double,” according to the same source, nor the impact of the earthquake on Turkish development.
Erdogan has pledged to build more than 450,000 earthquake-proof houses “within a year” and announced the payment of 100,000 Turkish lira (about 5,000 euros) to the relatives of the dead.
Almost one million affected people have already received 10,000 Turkish lira in aid, the Turkish president said on Wednesday.
The authorities have also pledged to pay an additional 15,000 Turkish lira (around €750) in relocation assistance.
THE Tayyip Erdogan put an end to speculation on Wednesday by confirming that presidential and parliamentary elections would be held as announced on May 14.
The Turkish president, who has been in power for 20 years and is running for re-election, has prioritized rebuilding the affected areas. The May 14 elections, however, portend a difficult test for Erdogan.
The opposition alliance is going to announce its candidate todays. But the candidacy of Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu has already caused a rift in its ranks, as one of the main parties in the alliance disagrees.
Source: News Beast
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