Green Left Party spokespersons Çiğdem Kılıçgun Uçar and İbrahim Akın questioned the government’s unfulfilled promises to earthquake victims during a press conference at the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in Ankara on Wednesday. They also related observations from their 18-21 September visit to earthquake-affected areas.
“People are still living in containers or tents. The government has not even provided basic amenities like bathrooms or toilets”, Uçar said, adding that there is no clarity as to when people will get their homes back.
Akın stressed the severe impact of the earthquake on people’s lives, saying that approximately 15 million are affected. “The current earthquake regulations are outdated and pose a risk to new constructions by TOKİ and AFAD”, he warned, referring to Turkey’s Housing Development Administration (TOKİ) and its Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD).
Both TOKİ and AFAD have faced criticism for their actions subsequent to the earthquake. Among other things, TOKİ has expropriated agricultural land in earthquake-stricken Hatay to build new housing, despite protests from residents. AFAD, on the other hand, has been in the spotlight for its glaring incompetence in its main area of operations immediately following the earthquake.
Uçar further highlighted the extra financial burden faced by the residents. “People are facing massive bills. Electricity bills have skyrocketed from 200-300 lira to 1,000 lira”, she said, while Akın remarked on the lack of healthcare services, stating that although there have been 74 requests for doctors to fill posts in Hatay, only six have applied due to harsh living conditions.
The spokespersons urged immediate action, stressing that the government’s negligence is causing suffering and risking lives.