Van governor calls for urgent aid
Hundreds in Van rushed to apply for the guest houses of public institutions. DHA photo
As search and rescue operations in the eastern province of Van draw to a close, falling temperatures and extreme weather conditions in Van have already taken their toll on the quake victims. Van Gov. Münir Karaoğlu called yesterday for more aid to be sent to Van immediately, saying that the city needs an urgent suply of food and clothing.
“No public institution in the city can be used now. There is immense damage. We need urgent aid from people, especially packaged food and supplies,” he said.
Meanwhile, authorities have begun turning to new alternatives for problems now emerging in the wake of two deadly earthquakes in the last month.
Upon Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay’s comments over the weekend that quake survivors could be hosted in social facilities and guest houses of public institutions, hundreds of people in Van applied for such facilities.
“The Mersin Governor’s Office, for instance, said they could shelter 2,000 families. The Ministry of Family and Social Policies will conduct a survey within this framework. Facilities [normally] used in the summer will be allocated to Van residents through the governor’s and district governor’s offices,” Atalay said, also urging philanthropic business people who own hotel chains to help the survivors.
The Education Ministry also posted a statement on its website, indicating that students from Van will be allowed to continue their studies in schools in other provinces, provided their guardians make a formal appeal to the ministry before Dec. 31, 2011.
Falling temperatures and extreme weather conditions in Van have already taken their toll on some survivors. A 7-year-old handicapped girl, who had survived unscathed from both tremors, died of pneumonia, allegedly because her family was not given a tent by the authorities.
“My daughter’s murderers are those who denied us a tent,” said Enver Olgun, 57, the girl’s father.
Deniz Olgun, 7, the physically and mentally disabled child of a couple with 12 children in the district of Erciş, the epicenter of the tremor, was being transferred to the southeastern province of Batman for treatment when she died en route.
The family reportedly appealed to both the governor’s and the district governor’s offices to obtain a tent after their home was damaged in the quake. When their appeals were turned down, the family set up a make-shift tent made of nylon. Enver Olgun said he reiterated his request for a tent when his daughter first fell ill, but to no avail.
Deniz Olgun was first brought to a field hospital on Nov. 11, where her condition was registered as an “upper respiratory infection of the lungs.” She was then taken to the Bitlis State Hospital, where she received treatment for a short while, after which she was sent to Batman due to a lack of space in the emergency services.
Compiled from Doğan news agency, daily Habertürk and other online sources by the Daily News staff in Istanbul.