Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) has asked survivors of the 6 February twin earthquakes to vacate tourism facilities they have been staying in in south and southwest Turkey, the Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
Thousands of survivors from 10 provinces that suffered massive destruction in the earthquakes were moved in to hotels and other similar facilities in İzmir, Aydın, Muğla and Antalya after the seismic shock.
The AFAD told earthquake survivors to vacate the facilities by 15 April, saying that the owners of the facilities have to start preparations for the summer season.
The agency told earthquake survivors they can move to other facilities in the northwestern provinces of Balıkesir and Çanakkale. It also offered to buy coach tickets for victims who preferred to return their home provinces.
“My son has started school here. Now we have to go to another place we do not know. And there is a possibility we will be sent somewhere else again after that. We have almost become nomads. We want a permanent solution from the state,” Suat Güneyli, who was staying in a hotel in the Çeşme district of İzmir told the Cumhuriyet.
Edit Bilici, a 82-year old man who is also staying in Çeşme with his daughter and his granddaughter who suffers from Downs syndrome, has also been asked to vacate the tourism facility.
“I do not want to go to other provinces, I want to go to my home city. I do not mind staying in a tent near my collapsed house,” said Bilici, adding that AFAD had offered to buy his coach ticket to Antakya district in Hatay province, which has been almost completely razed to the ground as a result of the disaster.
“How will I get to the bus or bus station? I came to a city I have no knowledge of, I don’t even know the way to the central bus station,” he said.
However, travel expenses and getting to bus stations are the least of the problems for earthquake victims who want to return to their home provinces.
The capacity of tent and container cities established so far in the 10 provinces is inadequate for the people who have not left the earthquake-hit region, with many still sleeping on the streets in hastily erected shelters.
Meanwhile, people trying to survive in the disaster area are facing the start of the wet season, known for its strong winds.
The Turkish media this week reported tent cities in several provinces being flooded, with tents collapsing or toppling on top of each other as a result of heavy rains and strong winds.
Turkey’s General Directorate of Meteorology announced on Saturday that a storm is to hit the earthquake-stricken provinces of Kahramanmaraş, Adıyaman, Malatya and Urfa on Sunday.