ANKARA, March 6 (AP) Hundreds of thousands of people still need shelter and sanitation a month after a powerful earthquake devastated parts of Turkey and Syria, amid calls for $1 billion to aid survivors Getting just 10 percent of the funding is hampering efforts to address the humanitarian crisis, a U.N. official said Monday.
The February 6 earthquake and powerful aftershocks have killed nearly 47,000 people in Turkey, destroyed or damaged some 214,000 structures and left hundreds of thousands homeless – the worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history. The United Nations estimated that the quake killed about 6,000 people in Syria, mainly in the rebel-held northwest.
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Nearly 2 million survivors have been evacuated from the quake-hit area, according to Turkish government figures. More than 1.4 million people lived in tents, while another 46,000 moved into shipping containers. Others lived in dormitories and hotels, the government said.
Alvaro Rodriguez, the UN Resident Coordinator in Turkey, told The Associated Press.
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“In some of our provinces, up to 25 percent of the population — we sometimes say 500,000 people — has been relocated. So the challenge we face is how do we provide food, shelter and water to these communities?” he said.
The UN representative said tents were needed even though they were not the “best solution” for sheltering people. He reported some outbreaks of scabies due to poor sanitation.
Last month, the United Nations made a flash appeal of $397.6 million to help victims of the earthquake in Syria and $1 billion to help those in Turkey meet three months of immediate needs, such as food, protection, water for education and shelter. Turkiye’s appeal is only about 10 percent funded, Rodriguez said.
“The reality is that the UN and its partners will not be able to meet the humanitarian needs if we don’t exceed about 10 percent of what we have,” he said.
Rodriguez added: “Turkiye is a country that has supported 4 million Syrian refugees over the past few years, and this is an opportunity for the international community to provide the support Turkiye deserves.”
The World Bank estimates that the quake caused about $34.2 billion in direct material damage, equivalent to 4% of Turkey’s 2021 gross domestic product.
Recovery and reconstruction costs would be much higher, the World Bank said, and the loss of GDP associated with economic disruption would also add to the cost of the earthquake.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who faces tough presidential and parliamentary elections in May, has pledged to rebuild hundreds of thousands of homes for earthquake survivors within a year.
According to UNHCR, more than 1.74 million refugees are living in the 11 Turkish provinces affected by the earthquake. Turkiye’s interior minister said 4,267 of those killed in Turkiye were Syrian nationals.
Rodriguez said some 40,000 Syrians living in Turkey had returned home to inspect families or economic assets, such as land or houses, that may have been affected by the local quake. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)