On 12th day of quakes, heating and accommodation problems not over

On the 12th day of major earthquakes, there are still heating and accommodation problems in Hatay province. “We give medication to the children to calm them down,” a parent said, adding they still sleep in the car.

Can Bursalı – Ferhat Yaşar

Many earthquake victims in southern Hatay province said they haven't received any help yet on the 12th day of the devastating earthquakes. 

The aid coordination center established by volunteers in Hatay's Iskenderun district has been trying to catch up with these help calls. Volunteers traveling around the villages have been making lists of needs. However, the resources are limited.

One of the victims, Senem Akbulut, has been living in her car with her grandchildren since the Feb. 6 quakes. 

Akbulut waited for her turn in a long queue for the aid but was only able to get cake and chocolate for her grandchildren. 

"We don't think about ourselves," said Akbulut, "We think about our grandchildren. Our goal is to feed our children. We give medication to the children to calm them down.”

Akbulut also told about how she experienced the quakes.

“I said I must be dreaming after waking up to the quake. We prayed to God. The electricity was cut off. We did not understand how we went down the stairs in the dark. We went barefoot. It was raining and cold. We had no coat. We took shelter in the car," she said.

“People were asking for help. There was no help for two days, three days. We still live in the car. Our children are hungry,” she added.

Çayan Çalık from the Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim Sen) has been helping the aid distribution in Hatay province for seven days.

He has been visiting all the villages and compiling the list of those who ask for help.

“The city center was completely destroyed. Those responsible for the tragedy must be held accountable. We are faced with a completely ignored city. People are furious. A new city model needs to be created here. There are still accommodation and heater problems here,” Çalık said.

He added that there is a need for an organization where the needs of children and disabled people can be met.

As of Feb. 16, some 38,044 people have yet lost their lives, and approximately 108,068 others have been injured in two major earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey on Feb. 6.

(English version by Alperen Şen)