Turkey to build 10,000 residences in Elazığ district
The magnitude 6.8 quake of Jan. 24 caused 37 deaths in Elazığ province, about 550 km (340 miles) east of Ankara, and four in neighboring Malatya.
During a press conference with ministers on Jan. 28, Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said the construction of 3,850 residences have started. The demolishment of high-risk buildings also commenced, the minister said.
According to the figures Kurum provided, officials have detected 458 heavily damaged and 296 moderately damages buildings in Elazığ’s central, Sivrice and Madem districts.
The remaining districts and neighborhoods have damaged buildings as well, and as soon as works are finalized, 300 residences will be built in Elazığ’s Mustafa Paşa neighborhood.
As for Yemişlik district, 10,000 residences are planned to be built in scope of a to-be built satellite city, the minister conveyed.
In Sivrice, some 350 residences are planned to be constructed, he added. Kurum also said that 200 residential houses are planned to be built on a 10,242 square meter area in the Sürsürü neighborhood.
There are villages affected from the deadly quake, according to the minister. For the villages, a project for agriculture as well as residences will also be conducted, Kurum said.
Container cities, financial aid
At the same press conference as the environment minister, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said thousands of technical personnel and officials from NGOs continue to work in the field. Drones continue surveillance over the cities, Soylu said.
Soylu said that the needs have been fulfilled, but setting up tents in front of every residence will be “difficult.”
“What we need to do is, mass sheltering centers. Because we can set up soup kitchens in front of them,” he said.
The minister also said many buildings will be demolished and containers for temporary residences will be set up.
Some 2,250 containers will be set up in Elazığ while 5,000 will be found in Malatya, according to Soylu. The areas reserved for “container cities” will also include social facilities, he said.
Regarding financial aid, Soylu said subsidies for rent will be sent on Jan. 28 for the residents of 58 damaged buildings.
Rescue efforts end
Turkey called off rescue operations on Jan. 27 in eastern areas hit by Jan. 24’s earthquakes after emergency workers recovered the body of a final person they were searching for under a collapsed building, bringing the death toll to 41, authorities said.
Some 1,607 people were injured, while 45 people had been pulled from the rubble, the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) said on Jan. 28.
AFAD said rescue efforts have ended in the region as over 5,000 personnel, 636 vehicles and 22 sniffer dogs took part. An additional 800 people from non-governmental organizations also helped with the rescue efforts.
Out of the 1,607 injured, 1,523 have been discharged from hospital, according to AFAD. Some 16 people out of the injured remain in intensive care unit, while the other 84 continue to receive medical treatment.
During a press conference with ministers on Jan. 28, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said the people discharged from hospital continue to receive treatment in their homes.
According to the data AFAD provided, some 1,190 aftershocks were felt and 22 more quakes, with magnitudes of over 4, jolted the region.
Authorities have warned residents not to enter damaged buildings because of the risk of collapse and further aftershocks, leaving many without a home in a region where temperatures hit minus 6 degrees Celsius on Jan. 27 morning.
Jan. 24’s main quake hit at 20:55 local time (1755 GMT). Earthquakes are commonplace in Turkey, which sits atop two major fault lines.
More than 17,000 people were killed in August 1999 when a 7.6-magnitude quake struck İzmit, a city southeast of metropolis Istanbul. In 2011, a quake in the eastern city of Van killed more than 500.
Aid flows from across country
National aid has continued to flow from all over Turkey to quake-hit areas.
Right after the earthquake, metropolitan and district municipalities, including those of Ankara, Istanbul and İzmir, had dispatched their rescue teams as well as food and water trucks adequate for thousands of people.
As overnight temperatures dropped to below zero degrees, emergency teams set up more than 25,000 tents for displaced residents as well as 400 general-purpose tents.
AFAD said it had sent more than 27,430 beds, 66,751 blankets, 4,312 heaters and 6,436 packages food supplies to affected areas.
Some 50,960 hot meals were also distributed to quake victims.
Thanks to an aid campaign, which is continuing as of Jan. 28, a total of 56,871,047 Turkish Liras have been collected for quake victims in Elazığ and Malatya, AFAD said.