6.4, 5.8, 5.2, 5.2 magnitudes of earthquakes hit southern Hatay province on Feb. 20 and killed at least six people, two weeks after the devastating Feb. 6 quakes that killed over 40,000 people.
The latest quakes, which injured 294 people, have revealed the extent of accommodation problems especially in Hatay’s districts as criticism mounts on the Turkish government for not providing enough housing to survivors even two weeks after the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes.
Mayor of Hatay’s Samandağ district, Refik Eryılmaz, said on Feb. 20 that “It has been very cold so far. Citizens without tents were forced to enter their house. There's no point in pushing people to death like this. Our citizens demand that their tent needs be met as soon as possible.”
Eryılmaz told broadcaster NTV that some of the buildings that were damaged due to the Feb. 6 quakes collapsed after yesterday’s quakes.
A pregnant woman, Culya Keykuni, gave birth on Feb. 20 after the quakes, saying “We were at home because there was no tent. Engineers (who did control damage assessment) said, 'Your house is slightly damaged,' so we stayed there.”
The Feb. 20 earthquakes came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks, who said at the same province that “We are starting the construction of 40,426 buildings in Hatay in March.”
“We will build a new Antakya from scratch, we will rebuild Arsuz, we will rebuild Iskenderun. At least give us a year,” Erdoğan added, referring to heavily damaged districts of Hatay.
The opposition criticized Erdoğan’s remarks, saying the government should first focus on post-earthquake management like accommodation.
The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) shared Erdoğan’s remarks of rebuilding on Twitter and said “Send tent first.”
Several users on social media recalled the donation campaign launched for the earthquake, raising more than 115 billion lira ($6 billion) from individuals and companies in a live broadcast on Feb. 15 evening. People asked where the money was spent in the face of huge accommodation problems in Hatay’s districts.
One user reminded that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) won the election in Hatay’s Arsuz and Samandağ districts and claimed the government has not brought aid to districts where “they can’t get votes from.”