‘It’s so cold’: Earthquake aid eludes many in southeastern Turkey | Turkey-Syria earthquake news

Osmaniye residents say they need food, heating and adequate housing to take care of their children.

Osmaniye, Turkey – Eight days after catastrophic earthquakes and aftershocks left tens of thousands dead and many more homeless, humanitarian aid has still not reached people in hard-hit parts of Turkey.

More than 100 people are living in a makeshift camp in Osmaniye after their homes were damaged or collapsed – they have yet to receive support from AFAD, the state’s Emergency and Disaster Management Committee.

In order to build tents and makeshift shelters for themselves and their families, they had to scavenge for materials wherever they could find them.

All they have received so far is food from the community.

“We need heaters, we need food, we need support for our children,” said Songul Bulsan, 44, as one of the children coughed, a harsh, hacking sound. The adults declined to be photographed but allowed Al Jazeera to photograph their children.

“We asked for tents – but we couldn’t even get a tent. It’s so cold – if we find tires we burn them,” she added. “We burn whatever we can find to keep warm. There is not much help in Osmaniye at the moment.”

Makeshift tents in Osmaniye where people displaced by the earthquake take shelter (Patrick Keddie/Al Jazeera)

More than 20 million people have been affected by the 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria. According to the United Nations, around 870,000 people in both countries urgently need hot meals.

Dozens of countries have pledged aid to Istanbul as rescue and relief efforts continue, although hope of finding survivors is fading.

A non-governmental business organization, the Turkish Business and Business Confederation, has estimated the damage from the disaster at up to US$84.1 billion.

“Can’t Blame Anyone”

People are afraid to enter their damaged properties as strong aftershocks near magnitude 5 continue.

In Osmaniye, nearly 1,000 people spend the night in carriages at the local train station.

They receive three meals a day, psychological care and access to portable toilets and showers provided by the state.

People displaced by the tremors take shelter in wagons at Osmaniye train station (Patrick Keddie/Al Jazeera)

Meanwhile, a camp of AFAD tents at a nearby school is full.

Despite this, some people say that the authorities are doing their best in the situation but are very overwhelmed.

Bulsan told Al Jazeera she was sensitive to foreign journalists doing “propaganda”.

“You can’t blame anyone, the impact is so big. Even if Turkey is totally flattened, we will love our government.”

Last week, opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticized the government’s response, saying that while the earthquake was “huge,” it was “lacking in coordination, planning and incompetence.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has acknowledged “shortcomings” in the state’s response to the tremors, adding that severe weather has hampered rescue efforts.

Reporting by Patrick Keddie in Osmaniye

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *