News ID: 112997
Publish Date : 03 March 2023 - 21:46
Syrians Fear Cholera Outbreak

Over 210,000 Buildings Destroyed or Heavily Damaged in Turkey Quakes

ANKARA (Anadolu/Reuters) – Turkey’s President, on Friday, said that over 214,000 buildings had collapsed or were heavily damaged by last month’s devastating earthquakes in the country’s south, Anadolu News Agency reports.
“At this moment, we’ve determined 608,000 independent sections in 214,000 buildings that have collapsed or are severely damaged and will be demolished,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a meeting in Istanbul with high-level officials, including Vice President Fuat Oktay, Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and government ministers.
Once damage assessments are complete, the number of new residential buildings and village homes to be built in the quakes-hit cities will become clear, Erdogan added as he addressed the Turkey National Risk Shield Meeting at the Dolmabahce Presidential Office.
The new buildings will be no more than three or four stories high above the ground floor, he said.
After the deadliest earthquake in its modern history, Turkey faces the daunting task of disposing of hundreds of millions of tons of rubble, some of it potentially harmful, Reuters reports.
The UN Development Program (UNDP) says the resulting 116- 210 million tons of rubble are equivalent to an area of 100 square km (40 square miles), if it were stacked to a height of 1 meter. That is roughly the size of Barcelona.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, facing an election likely to be held on 14 May, has pledged to rebuild homes within a year, although experts warned safety should come before speed.
An official said tenders and contracts had already been completed for some projects and safety would not be compromised.
On the other side of the border in Syria, millions of people were already displaced by more than 11 years of foreign-backed war, and the difficult living conditions at refugee camps in the area have worsened since the earthquakes. They are now facing a cholera outbreak after the quakes hit the region. The number of people getting infected with cholera — a disease caused by eating and drinking contaminated food or water — has been on the rise.
And there are concerns that the camp lacks enough resources to handle an outbreak.
“After we survived the earthquake, we are now living in fear of contracting any of the communicable diseases that are spreading like wildfire across the camps,” said Abdel Moneim Hamdo, whose house collapsed in the February 6 earthquakes. “It’s as if we’ve escaped death only to find death.”
At least two people died of cholera in northwestern Syria last month, while the total number of cholera deaths recorded in the northwest since the outbreak began last year rose to 22, according to latest figures.