TURKEY: Turkey has begun the process of rebuilding houses in the wake of this month’s devastating earthquakes, a government official stated on Friday, as the death toll in both Turkey and Syria surpassed 50,000. The earthquakes that struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria on February 6 resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and severely damaged or destroyed more than 160,000 buildings housing 520,000 apartments.
The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) said Friday night that 44,218 people had died in Turkey because of aftershocks.
After Syria’s latest death toll of 5,914, the total number of people who have died in the two countries is now over 50,000.
President Tayyip Erdogan, who will be running for office in a few months, has promised to rebuild homes within a year, even though experts have advised officials to prioritise safety over speed. In the most recent earthquakes, some structures designed to endure tremors collapsed.
“Tenders and contracts have been done for several projects. The process is moving very fast,” the official stated, speaking under the condition of anonymity and adding that safety would not be compromised.
Authorities claim that tents have been sent out for the numerous homeless, but people have complained that they have trouble accessing them.
Interrail Turkey, an organization of volunteers, was using the school as a distribution point for aid. The lack of tents continues to be the primary issue, said Sumeyye Karabocek, one of the volunteers.
Erdogan’s administration has come under fire for both how it handled the destruction and for what many Turks claim were years of lax enforcement of building quality control.
He said that the Turkish government’s current initial plan calls for the construction of 70,000 village homes and 200,000 flats at a cost of at least $15 billion. According to JPMorgan, the cost of constructing new homes and facilities will be $25 billion.
As per UNDP, 500,000 new homes are required to house the 1.5 million people who are now homeless as a result of the devastation.
From the $1 billion in funds sought by the UN last week, it claimed to have asked for $113.5 million, adding that it would use the money to clear mountains of rubble.
The UNDP estimated that 116 million to 210 million metric tonnes of rubble were produced by the disaster, compared to 13 million metric tonnes after the 1999 earthquake in northwest Turkey.
Additionally, Turkey issued new rules allowing businesses and non-profits to construct residences and workplaces to donate to the minister of urbanization for the benefit of those in need.