Kahramanmaraş earthquakes, as known as “The disaster of the century,” created two major tremors of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes.
The energy released amounted to 500 atomic bombs, according to Prof. Dr. Orhan Tatar, Director General of Earthquake Risk Reduction at the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency.
The destruction caused by the quakes was like no other within the last hundred years. The epicenter was in the middle of the largest cities in Southeastern Anatolia, thus affecting more than ten million people.
“No country alone could singlehandedly manage this calamity,” said the officials about the situation. “Half a million people reached out for help,” including individual volunteers alongside professional teams from around the world, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.
The quakes, which leveled eleven cities, left around 230 thousand buildings defective, causing 1.5 million people to lose housing.
HEALING AFTER THE DISASTER
After the search and rescue efforts ended, the state, society, and the NGOs immediately started to work towards providing post-quake relief to those affected.
The most crucial need of the survivors is housing. Currently, about 1.5 million people reside in tents, 53 thousand in container cities, 123 thousand in public facilities such as schools, 160 thousand in dormitories, and 137 thousand in hotels, President Erdoğan said in his speech yesterday.
“We plan to build at least a hundred thousand containers within the next two months with all infrastructure such as electricity, water, road, social facilities, and drainage. The plan is to house half a million survivors here. The number of containers might be increased,” President Erdoğan added.
It is expected that at least 488 thousand new buildings will be erected to compensate for the housing needs of the affected population. President Erdoğan announced that the construction work for 22 thousand has already started, and the work for around 320 thousand residencies is set to start within the next 60 days.
Cash support is made available to those who wish to move. Fifteen thousand liras is pledged to people whose houses were left unusable, and three to five thousand liras is decided to be given to those who will undertake rent.
There is also a campaign named “Evim Yuvan Olsun” (My House, Your Home) directed at homeowners keen on opening their spare houses.
The campaign works based on homeowners providing housing to survivors free of charge or at marked-down prices. People without a spare home can contribute by donating money.
Slightly more than one million survivors received 10 thousand liras per house in emergency support.
In terms of psychological support, eight thousand psychosocial workers are on the field to support those affected.
Until the schools are fully open, children receive academic support in education centers set up in tents and containers. This move came to help children get over the mental problems created by the quakes in addition to educational work.
Businesses of all sizes have taken a tremendous blow from the quakes likewise. To ease the burden, affected businesses’ 2023 debts to KOSGEB will be forgiven.
President Erdoğan said: “The government will do all it can for industrial plants, factories, businesses, and other employment areas, which are critical for regional rejuvenation.”
SMEs will receive postponement on their loans and can utilize Credit Guarantee Fund (KGF) loans. According to its website, KGF is a guarantor for SMEs and non-SME enterprises that cannot get a loan due to insufficient collateral. KGF supports SMEs and non-SME enterprises in accessing financing.
“We provide a 12-month grace period, 60-month maturity, and 7.5 percent interest rate loan of up to 250 thousand liras to our tradespeople and craftspeople who want to put their shops into operation immediately in places heavily damaged by the earthquake,” said President Erdoğan about the ‘Revitalizing Loan Project.’
Mansur Ali Bilgiç - 10/03/2023