Population of neighboring city rises by 40 pct in 2 weeks

Population of neighboring city rises by 40 pct in 2 weeks

Population of neighboring city rises by 40 pct in 2 weeks

After the devastating earthquakes that hit southern Türkiye, the neighboring province of Mersin’s population has increased by 40 percent in two weeks, while nearly 400,000 earthquake survivors have arrived in the city.

In a joint statement made by 47 institutions, organizations and NGOs in the southern province, it was emphasized that forced migration due to the quakes turned into a “social disaster” as this migration wave has exceeded the resources of the city in many areas, especially in infrastructure, accommodation and transportation.

Stating that about 400,000 people came to Mersin from the earthquake zones in two weeks, the associations said that the infrastructure, accommodation and transportation of the city should be re-planned.

“Mersin should be included in the scope of a special support. Having a population of 1.9 million in 2022, Mersin started to host 400,000 earthquake victims. In a short period of two weeks, the population of Mersin has increased by close to 40 percent.”

Emphasizing that several needs, including health and education, are increasing in the city, the statement said, “In order to meet this need, we must rapidly increase the amount of these services and the number of personnel who will fulfill them.”

The joint statement noted that Mersin was also affected by the earthquakes on Feb. 6 and 20, adding that the buildings in the province should be made earthquake resistant against the large and medium-sized earthquakes that still continue in the region.

In Mersin, earthquake survivors were settled in hotels, social facilities and housing centers allocated to them, as some homeowners and real estate agents increased the prices of houses at exorbitant rates.

While house rents have doubled in several districts, rents are requested annually and in advance in the Silifke and Erdemli districts.

The lowest house rent increased from 3,000 Turkish Liras ($160) to 8,000 liras ($424).

Ümit Mete, one of the sector representatives, stated that even real estate agents are in a difficult situation due to the rents requested by property owners.

“Our biggest problem here is that housing has increased to exorbitant prices. Property owners put us in a difficult situation with price increases in the first days. We were embarrassed when we tried to explain this situation to the earthquake victims,” Mete said.

Mete stated that they worked to prevent this problem by meeting with homeowners and real estate agents who applied exorbitant price increases after the earthquakes.

“I would like to make a conscientious and humane call to the property owners: This disaster can happen to everyone. For the sake of humanity, I advise that they put their hands on their hearts.”

“We will impose sanctions on these people together with official institutions,” he added.