Thousands of quake survivors face risk of cancer due to asbestos released from rubble, opposition says

Turkey’s ruling AKP and MHP voted down the opposition İYİ Party’s motion suggesting to discuss the hygiene problem in the earthquake-struck region on Oct. 3, earlier than it was scheduled. Main opposition CHP MP Tutdere criticized the move and said if precautions are not taken, some 352,882 earthquake survivors will die from cancer due to the asbestos released from the collapsed buildings.

Duvar English

Turkish opposition İYİ (Good) Party’s motion suggesting to discuss the hygiene problem of the earthquake-struck southern and southeastern region earlier than it was scheduled was turned down in parliament on Oct. 3.

İYİ Party Hatay Lawmaker Adnan Şefik Çirkin stated that hygiene and pest problems continue in his constituency according to reporting from ANKA News Agency.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Abdurrahman Tutdere said the rubble sorting process is being done irregularly, causing the release of asbestos from the rubble. 

“After the Feb. 6 earthquakes, more than 500,000 buildings collapsed (in the region), creating 465 million tons of debris. Approximately 516,666 tons of asbestos were released into the environment and people inhaled it. There will be a 4,900 percent increase in cancer cases here. If precautions are not taken, 352,882 people in this region will die of cancer in approximately the next five-ten years,” he added.

Opposition Green Left Party (YSP) lawmaker Mehmet Zeki İrmez said rubble removal operations “continue in a primitive manner,” and people “still” cannot access water.

Turkey’s southeastern region was struck by two major earthquakes on Feb. 6, one at a magnitude of 7.7 and the other at 7.6, and more than 50,000 people died according to the official figures.