Questions linger on the first year of Van quake
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
The houses will be sold for 80,000 liras, but future owners will be provided with payment options, the housing administration earlier has said. AA photoIn the first year following the earthquake that killed 644 people in the eastern province of Van, Turkey’s Housing Administration said some 3.6 billion Turkish Liras have been spent on the reconstruction of the province. Still, critics and opposition members say there are many unsolved problems in the city.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will head to Van today to submit the keys of 12,154 houses built by the TOKİ (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) in the first year of the earthquake. According to information provided by AFAD Chairman Fuat Oktay to Anatolia news agency, a total of 15,323 houses commenced construction 39 days after the earthquake shook the city. A total of 10,443 of these are located in Van, with the remaining 4,880 in the Erçiş district. The houses will be sold for 80,000 liras, but future owners will be provided with payment options, TOKİ earlier said. For one flat, potential owners will be allocated monthly installments over a 20 year time span.
However, the reconstruction of Van province is far from being complete according to government critics. Speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News, Elif Aşma, from the Chamber of Architects in Van said the province’s zoning revision was still not finished and none of the houses being delivered to their owners were in Van’s center.
“After an earthquake a province needs to undergo a zoning revision that regulates how the new housing should be planned. This revision has not been completed which means that no house can be built in the city center. The houses that are being distributed are made on Treasury’s lands, because they are TOKİ (Housing Development Administration of Turkey) houses. But Van’s city center is not reconstructed,” she said.
CHP Deputy Chair Umut Oran, who organized a press meeting yesterday, said although a year had passed since the earthquake the wounds it created were still open. “Destroyed mosques were not rebuilt and this is the chief complaint of the Van people. The court house is still in the Van prison and education is still very difficult. Recently, new stadiums were built in many provinces, but the Vanspor team is still not able to host teams on its own pitch.” A total of 644 people lost their lives and thousands were rendered homeless in wake of a 7.2-magnitude quake that rocked the city of Van on Oct. 23, followed by another 5.6-magnitude temblor on Nov. 9 and repeated aftershocks.