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Turkish Quake Survivors Left in Unhealthy Conditions: Medical NGO

A report published by the Turkish Medical Association, TTB on Wednesday raises concerns that survivors of the twin earthquakes on February 6 still have to live in unhealthy conditions without proper hygiene facilities, clean water, food and healthcare services.

The twin earthquakes registering 7.8 and 7.6 on the Richter scale devastated 11 provinces in southern and south-eastern regions of Turkey, killing at least 55,000 people and leaving millions without homes.

“At the beginning of the February 6 earthquakes, the weather was cold and rainy. With the summer, extreme heat started in the region. Earthquake survivors staying in tents are constantly exposed to dust while breathing,” the TTB report said.

Another problem affecting survivors’ health are the “communal and crowded” living conditions in tent camps and prefabricated emergency accommodation, the report added.

“There is no separate regime for those with chronic diseases and children in the region. Earthquake survivors usually cook their own meals outside, on tube stoves,” the report continued.

“There are no healthcare units in all temporary living areas. Vaccinations are being done by mobile vaccination teams. There is a tangible problem with family planning. Earthquake victims continue to make small numbers of complaints about lice, scabies and diarrhoea. It’s being said that there has been a decrease in the distribution of hygiene products,” the report added.

According to the report, women and disabled people are suffering more than men.

“Although the number of toilets and bathrooms is sufficient in the tent cities, the fact that women’s and men’s toilets and showers are located in the same place and that there are night-time lighting problems negatively affects women’s access. Disabled people also have problems in accessing the toilets,” the report highlighted.

The TTB said that the real number of people who were killed or injured remains unknown after more than six months after the country’s worst ever earthquake disaster.

“Although six months have passed since the earthquake, we still do not have reliable statistics about the people who are dead, injured and disabled,” the TTB said.

Earthquake survivors and experts have complained that the needs of people in the earthquake zone were forgotten after some time had passed and the amount of humanitarian aid delivered was not adequate.

Millions of people from the area had to migrate safer Western provinces and hundreds of thousands of people continue to live outside of their houses, in tent camps and prefabricated buildings.

The Ministry of Finance and Treasury has said the February 6 earthquakes will cost Turkey’s economy $103.6 billion, which is equal to one-eighth of the country’s GDP in 2021.

According to experts, the economic and social effects of the earthquakes will continue to have an impact on the region for years or possibly decades.

Source : Balkan Insight