Thousands migrate from earthquake-stricken Van

Thousands migrate from earthquake-stricken Van

VAN - Doğan News Agency
Thousands migrate from earthquake-stricken Van

Thousands of people in shock and panic have been leaving the city due to the casualties, continuing aftershocks and start of the snow, news reports say. DHA photo

Families and residents of Van are leaving the eastern city shaken by two earthquakes in one month. Twenty-two people, including a Japanese humanitarian worker, lost their lives in the second quake and 30 people were recovered alive from the rubble, according to the prime minister’s disaster and emergency management presidency.

On Oct. 23 the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the eastern province of Van claimed 605 lives. A second earthquake, with a magnitude of 5.6, struck the city less than three weeks after the previous earthquake on Nov. 9 in the same area.

Van’s most crowded streets before the earthquake are now totally empty. Because of lack of electricity, the city which had a population of 400,000 people plunges into utter darkness at night. None of the shops are open in the daytime, except a couple of bakeries and grocery stores trying to survive.

Three big hospitals in the city are also being vacated and the hospitals’ medical activities are being continued in the tents.

Hundreds of casualties, continuation of the aftershocks and start of the snow have destroyed the mental state of the earthquake survivors. Thousands of people in shock and panic have been leaving the city, Doğan News Agency reported.

While there are large crowds of passengers waiting at the airport and bus stations, thousands of people leave the city by car. Families and survivors of the Van earthquakes said the living conditions became much harder in Van especially after the weather became colder with the snow. Many people said they didn’t have any choice but to leave the city.

Survivors said the last earthquake has made them feel “miserable.”

“We don’t have any strength left to stand the pain anymore. Our houses are damaged and living in the tents in this cold winter is very difficult. It also started to snow now. We don’t have electricity anyway. So we are leaving the city. We will pass this winter in the apartments of our relatives in other towns. We don’t know what will happen afterward. But we want the authorities to find a solution for this region as soon as possible,” the earthquake survivors said.

Meanwhile Tevfik Bayram, owner of the collapsed Bayram Hotel where at least eight people died in the second earthquake, has said he had given a petition to the authorities for the damage assessment of the hotel building after the first earthquake on Oct. 23, however nothing has been done by the authorities.

The Bayram Hotel was the most crowded building to collapse in the second quake, trapping dozens under rubble and killing at least eight people.

The search and rescue efforts continued on Nov. 11 in the rubble of two collapsed hotels, Aslan Hotel and Bayram Hotel. Search and rescue teams had found seven people in the rubble of the Aslan Hotel and eight in the Bayram Hotel, as of Nov. 11 afternoon. Four people who were hospitalized could not be saved.