One hundred days after the devastating 6 February earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, affected communities are still struggling with challenges, including the lack of clean water, hygiene materials, shelter, healthcare and education.
In earthquake-devastated Hatay, flies, insects and diseases compound the challenges faced by the affected communities, particularly as the summer heat intensifies. Survivors have voiced frustration with the government response, saying that the assistance is inadequate.
Speaking to Cumhuriyet, Damla Sungur, a member of the feminist collective Purple Solidarity, explained that they are relying on their local leader to address the water problem, which has been accompanied by the emergence of flies and insects. “There is no spraying against the flies, and we are trying to solve it with our own means. We are in a very difficult situation. There is no help from the government,” she said. Sungur emphasised the importance of hygiene, noting the challenges they face living outside without access to water from the main network. Özcan Sabun, another quake victim, echoed the lack of municipal support, making staying at home impossible without water.
UNICEF recently issued a statement calling for continued support for 6.2 million vulnerable children affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. These children lack access to water, education, and medical care, and are at risk of violence and forced labour.
The earthquakes have worsened Syria’s already strained infrastructure. Additionally, malnutrition has become a critical concern, according to UNICEF.
Emphasising the importance of prioritizing children’s needs, UNICEF called for efforts in providing financial aid, ensuring access to education, and offering psychosocial support. It stressed the necessity of sustained funding for health, nutrition, and water programs.
While UNICEF is providing immediate assistance and supporting infrastructure rehabilitation, further aid is required. The organisation said Syria needs $172.7 million, and Turkey requires over $85 million. Sufficient funding is crucial to protect children’s rights and alleviate their hardships, they concluded.