Turkey: Government agency demands earthquake victims to pay for new houses

Featured image: Tents of earthquake victims. Source: Yeni Demokrasi

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) which is supposed to have houses built for those who lost their home in the earthquake of the 6th of February 2023, has demanded that the victims in Diyarbakir pay it between 1,5 million to 4 million TL (around 50,000 to 130,000 US dollars) to have their houses built. It has almost been a year, and the people in the area are still living in ”temporary” shelters made of containers, and now on top of everything the government is asking them money to fulfill its tasks. Almost 60,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake which hit southern and central Turkey as well as northern Syria on the 6th of February 2023, and millions lost their homes, as the result of the negligence and incapability of the ruling classes of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal country to provide the people with safe infrastructure.

Those who lost their homes were first living in tents, and then they were assigned small containers to live in. One of the local residents reported that the AFAD has for almost a year been saying that the construction will start ”today”, ”tomorrow” or ”this month” but there is still no houses. She describes that they are living in the containers, which do not have toilets, kitchens or showers, and are cold and water is leaking in. She explains that people are getting sick and dying because of the conditions. At the same time, the electricity companies are still demanding the bills to be paid or the electricity might be cut. She explains that her family had to take a loan to pay the electricity bill to keep heating their container. The residents denounce that if they would have the money AFAD is demanding, they would have already built their own houses.

There is similar reports from other parts of Turkey, for example in Hatay some of the earthquake victims are still living in tents. One woman describes that her family of eight is living in a tent in their garden. When trying to reach the authorities to ask for help, they have been only passed from one unit to another and left without answers and financial aid meant to those whose house has collapsed. She denounces that despite the government claiming that they distribute food, they have never seen this happen. The residents say that the official aid has been cut, and they are relying on volunteers and their own means. There is a lack of water and other necessities.

Yeni Demokrasi reported on the 9th of January that in Başkavak District of Malatya, the authorities had started demolishing damaged buildings, in which people were still living and storing their belongings, without providing them even with containers to live in. Also private companies provide containers, but these are expensive. The residents in Başkavak say they are not able to afford this. The same negligence, incapability and greediness of the exploiters, which led to the disaster, is again displayed in how the disaster is handled afterwards.

Previous post INDIA: FACAM – On the Protest Against Displacement and Killing of 6-month Old Infant
Next post Huge riots erupt in Papua New Guinea