Europe News Desk!!! The devastating earthquake that struck southern Turkey earlier this month caused massive internal displacements, resulting in severe pressure on resources in the country’s major cities. According to the Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning, the twin earthquakes on February 6 not only killed 44,374 people, but also caused 164,321 buildings to either collapse, collapse or have serious structural damage, Xinhua news agency reported. The equivalent of approximately 520,000 individual apartments. Leaving the 10 provinces most affected by the earthquake, many survivors moved to neighboring cities or the country’s largest urban centers. The Disaster and Emergency Management Authority has moved 528,146 people in the three weeks following the earthquake, but countless others have left on their own. Local daily Birgun reported that 2.5 million cell phones were active in the affected provinces the day before the quake hit other cities a few days later. Birgun estimated that some five million people were displaced. The southern province of Mersin saw the largest influx of earthquake survivors. The city of nearly two million people took in some 400,000 earthquake survivors in addition to the 237,466 Syrian refugees already living there.
Last week, organizations affiliated with the Mersin Commodities Exchange issued a statement offering assistance to Ankara, writing: The unplanned but inevitable relocation to Mersin in the wake of the disaster has put pressure on the city’s resources, especially infrastructure. With regards to shelter, and transportation, turning the migration wave into a social disaster. The statement urged the government to factor in the influx of new arrivals when distributing emergency relief and speed up ongoing projects that would strengthen the city’s industrial, economic and transportation potential. Meanwhile, another 140,000 people flocked to the touristy seaside province of Antalya, according to the latest figures shared by Antalya Governor Ersin Yağcı. With about 75,000 people staying in hotels, motels and other guest facilities, the popular summer destination is currently over capacity.
One major concern is education. Yajci said they have identified 12,000 school-aged children among the survivors and are currently figuring out how to include them in the academic semester. While there are no specific numbers for migration in Turkey’s three largest cities – Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir – they have all taken in large numbers of survivors. According to experts, the capital Ankara, which is located in the center of the country and relatively close to the earthquake zone, has been hit the most of any city in Turkey. The increased demand from newcomers comes from people already living in major urban centres, who have begun to move from earthquake-prone districts to newer, safer buildings. Due to this increased demand, the rents are skyrocketing, which has been noticed by the government. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Saturday that he is working on tougher penalties for anyone trying to take advantage of the hardships brought by the earthquakes to make unjust, immoral and illegal profits. These include practices such as overcharging for rent, relocation, or providing any other services.
Meanwhile, it was not only Turkish citizens who were displaced from the earthquake area. Local daily Haberturk reported that 35,000 Syrian refugees had returned home in the two weeks following the earthquake. It was also noted that another 2,000 dead were repatriated to Syria. Of the four million Syrian refugees currently living in Turkey, 1.7 million are in the 10 quake-hit provinces.
World News Desk!!!