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Turkey Earthquake: Survivors Living on Streets

March 16, 2023

Sung Jae Ahn


The outbreak of two sequential earthquakes in November 2022 in Turkey and Syria caused deadly damage to the nations. As of March 2023, the United Nations estimated that approximately 1.5 million people lost their homes and that there have been more than 55100 deaths. More than 160,000 buildings either collapsed or were greatly damaged. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that at least 1.5 million people could not leave the quake zone, with no proper place to reside in.


The outbreak of two sequential earthquakes in November 2022 in Turkey and Syria caused deadly damage to the nations. As of March 2023, the United Nations estimated that approximately 1.5 million people lost their homes and that there have been more than 55100 deaths. More than 160,000 buildings either collapsed or were greatly damaged. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that at least 1.5 million people could not leave the quake zone, with no proper place to reside in.


Image Source: AFP

The homelessness crisis created by the quake is so serious because of the lack of safe spaces. Tents have appeared everywhere, and in some cities, people are still living inside public buildings.


Furthermore, around 70% of the city's buildings were built before the enforcement of stricter construction standards in 1999, meaning many of the buildings can collapse if they're put under pressure during a quake. Three months ago, a study showed that a quake of similar force could kill up to 90,000 people.


Since the earthquakes in the south, there've been more than 100,000 new requests for building safety checks. The waiting list for a safety check shot up to three months, then four, and it keeps rising. Tenants as well as landlords can now apply, but some still don't because of the financial burden. There is not much compensation to help the individuals who need aid to move out of dangerous, ruined buildings.


Ekrem Imamoglu, the city's mayor, has promised to provide additional training for rescue teams and to prepare temporary shelters that could encompass up to 4.5 million people. However, many are concerned that this solution may not be enough to help everyone in need.

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