Two children from Turkey's quake-torn Hatay die in container home electrical fire 

Two children from Turkey’s quake-torn Hatay died on Jan. 7 after an electrical fire broke out in the temporary housing unit where the family relocated to after the 2023 quakes. A wire pulling power from a nearby lamppost caused the fire, as the power company neglected requests to connect the power.

Burcu Özkaya Günaydın / Gazete Duvar

Two siblings in Turkey’s quake-torn Hatay province died on Jan. 7 as an electrical fire broke out in the container home the Hüzmeli family was staying in after the Feb. 6, 2023 earthquakes. 

Siblings four-year-old İsacan and one-year-old Doğa died in the fire, whereas mother Zeynep and one-year-old Duru escaped.
The family had survived the earthquakes and relocated to a container house installed in the garden of their collapsed home in the Samandağ district. 

Officials believed that the fire was caused by the power line the family pulled from a nearby lamppost to supply the container. 

The fire burns down the temporary housing unit.

Neighbors reported that the family had called the electricity supplier company multiple times before the fire to request a connection to no avail. The electricity distribution company (TEDAŞ) arrived after the fire and connected the house. 

Neighbors also reported that the family was living in a tent until two months ago, and they had recently set up the container house.

The neighbors complained about the destitute state of the neighborhood since the earthquake. Street lights were not working, so the area fell completely dark in the night, they reported.  

Özgür Özel, the head of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), gave his condolences through a social media post. He continued, "As (President) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan mocks the opposition and introduces new candidates, this is happening in the earthquake region. Hundreds of thousands of people are abandoned, and try to cling to life in tents and container units despite many promises of the government."

Özel continued, "We will not forget even if the government does, we will not be silent. We will defend our citizens in the earthquake region's right to live honorable lives."

The two deadly Feb. 6 earthquakes killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey's southeastern region and destroyed thousands of buildings. Tens of thousands of people have been living in temporary housing units even eleven months after the earthquakes. 

The tents, containers, and prefabricated units are exposed to elements, and many residents have been aggrieved by the lack of official assistance. The poor hygiene conditions and infrastructural shortcomings continue to burden the quake-torn peoples in the region.   

(English version by Ayşenaz Toptaş)