Van earthquake victims’ hunger strike enters 100th day
VAN – Doğan News Agency
Families living at the container camp lack electricity nad heating. Many adults are unfit to work and earn their living, their spokesperson says. DHA photoThe collective hunger strike initiated by the victims of the 2011 Van earthquake in protest at a decision to evacuate the container city where they live, entered its 100th day on Dec. 4.
The 110 families living in the camp formed after the devastating earthquake are continuing their action in turns, also in protest at the lack of electricity and heating.
“We have initiated the hunger strike to find a permanent solution. Many families living here have no member who is able to work. The adults of those households are either people with illness or with a report [saying] that they are disabled. So, even if we go for a place where we would pay rent, our troubles will not end,” Ali Ahi, a spokesperson for the strikers said, calling on the government to provide permanent housing.
“We will continue our action until our demand is met. We are living here in very poor conditions. Our children are sick, we did not have electricity for 108 days. We can’t set stoves in our containers. Officials now have to stand up for a handful of people living here. Is this that difficult?” Ahi said.
The 34 container cities were set up after the 7,2- and 5,6-magnitude earthquakes that took place near Van on Oct. 23 and Nov. 9, 2011, respectively. Those were gradually dismantled as the victims were moved to the 15,343 houses built by the state-owned Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ). However, around 500 families who were living on rent before the earthquake or were not granted a home are still living in the container cities.
Recently, the electricity of the families who still live in the container city was cut, triggering the hunger strike.