The onset of winter brings many people to leave the city of Van after the 5.6 magnitude earthquake that destroyed many buildings last week. There are still families that could not be provided with a tent. Even if they got one now, it would hardly protect them from lowest temperatures around minus twelve degrees at night.
A huge wave of migration is reaching other cities. İdris Cambey from the Van Municipality Disaster Centre said that 90 busses leave the city every day besides planes and private cars.
Cambey explained that people cannot stand the cold in the tents. People who previously migrated to Van return to their hometowns and many people go to relatives who live in other cities.
It was minus 15 degrees on Saturday night (12 November). According to Cambay, the municipality is not able to cover the need for winter tents. One child has died in a tent and under these circumstances this situation was going to become more widespread, Cambey anticipated.
TL 13,000 for a container, one-month delivery time
Cambay said that they talked to companies selling winter-proof containers.
The price for a 40 square metre container is TL 13,000 (€6,000); a 80 square metre container costs TL 140,000 (€ 65,000). The delivery time takes 30 to 50 days in general.
Cambay calculated the population of central Van before the earthquake with 430,000 people. Considering immigration the total number summed up to 100,000. Assuming a five-people family, 20,000 containers are being needed for the centre only, he indicated.
However, the municipality budget is not big enough to cover even a hundred containers. Cambay indicated that Van had to be declared a disaster area urgently.
The poor are hit the worst again
Sociologist Ceyhan Timur from the municipality said that the second earthquake after the major 7.2 magnitude shock in October revealed the poverty in Van since it also affected the city centre.
Timur indicated that people belonging to the civil sector and who are in a good economic situation left the city by their own means. The poor people from the villages and settlements in the city's periphery on the other hand are the victims who are again suffering the most from health problems and psychological traumata.
The people are currently experiencing a huge uncertainty, Timur said. "Three weeks have passed since the first earthquake but some people are still staying in nylon tents. This also drains the people's hope and the uncertainty is the worst".
Only two public buildings still standing safely
The Governor of Van, Münir Karaloğlu, announced in a press release that of all public buildings in Van only two can still be used. Van has almost turned into a ghost town, he said.
Karaoğlu confirmed that the second earthquake created more damage than the first one. He emphasized that much more help was needed and that they expected more public interest. (NV/VK)