Turkish authorities have evicted most survivors of major earthquakes in Turkey’s southeast in February who were living in temporary housing, with many facing homelessness, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the BBC Turkish service.
Thousands of people were left without homes after devastating earthquakes hit southeastern Turkish provinces in the early hours of February 6. Houses were either demolished during the earthquake or were too damaged for habitation. Victims were directed to state-owned social facilities, university dormitories and guesthouses where they have been living since the disaster.
According to media reports, since July 30 victims in public dormitories and guesthouses have been evicted under orders from governor’s offices. Many of those who have left their temporary homes have no other place to go.
One earthquake victim identified only as Meryem said they were evicted despite her husband still undergoing treatment at a hospital. The family was forced to leave the public dormitory that had been their home since the earthquake, on July 30.
“I showed authorities documents proving my husband was scheduled for surgery and that we needed more time,” said Meryem. “But nobody listened, and we had to vacate the dorm with our two children.”
The family now lives in a shelter that they will have to leave soon because they are only allowed to stay there for a month.
“I have breast cancer, and my husband needs dialysis, so what are we going to do? They are telling us we need to return to the earthquake zone and stay in a tent city,” she added. “But how can two extremely sick people live in such conditions?”
In addition to being left homeless, many families are grappling with poverty because they lost everything in the disaster. Some, like Meryem and her husband, are still recovering from injuries or are chronically sick and as a result are unable to work.
“It is terribly difficult for earthquake victims to find a rental home with the current prices,” she said. “And once you tell landlords that you’re from the earthquake zone, they immediately hesitate to rent their homes to you.”
Mehmet Güzelmansur, from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), said it was disappointing that victims were evicted in such a way.
Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years, which struck near the city of Gaziantep in the early hours of February 6, has so far claimed the lives of more than 50,000 people in Turkey in addition to injuring more than 100,000. Close to 220,000 disaster victims have been evacuated from the region to date, according to the latest official figures.