Tent fires in quake-hit Van cause fear among residents

Tent fires in quake-hit Van cause fear among residents

VAN - Doğan News Agency
Tent fires in quake-hit Van cause fear among residents

A tent set up in the garden of a house owned by the Kırıcı family caught on fire and left a family of nine homeless. So far 10 people were killed in 122 tent fires in the city. The fires are mostly caused by sparks spreading from electric heaters or stoves. AA photo

Residents in quake hit Van say they are having difficulty in sleeping at nights due to fear of a possible tent fire, which killed 10 people in the city so far. 

“We cannot sleep at night out of fear. We are constantly on the edge, fearing a fire could break out any time. We were delivered from the earthquake, but we are going to die either because of the cold or tent fires,” said a quake victim in Van. 

A recent fire broke out early wednesday in the neighborhood of Kümeevler left a family of nine homeless, according to reports. 

The fire spread quickly but was eventually extinguished by other tent residents and neighbors.

The Red Crescent subsequently provided the family with a replacement tent, as the original tent was rendered useless following the incident.

122 tent fires

About 122 tent fires broke out in downtown Van in the aftermath of the devastating 7.2-magnitude earthquake Oct. 23, 2011, and another temblor two weeks after, killing over 600 and leaving thousands homeless.

Earthquake victims are still being sheltered in tents in the region and are often forced to burn coal or use wood burning stoves for heating in a bid to cope with an unusually cold winter in the province. Ten people, mainly children, have been killed in fires which have broken out as a result.

Meanwhile, the Van Municipality and the Southeastern Anatolian Municipalities Union (GABB) have launched an initiative to combat fire outbreaks. Municipality workers distributed 15,000 pamphlets detailing information regarding “life security in a tent.” 

Firefighters gave the pamphlets away to children in particular and requested they read the information to their families, while they also provided information about fire prevention and how to correctly use a stove.

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