Evacuees will return when Türkiye’s quake-hit cities normalize: Interior minister

In the wake of last week’s major quakes in Türkiye, when container cities are set up to those left without homes, locals who left the cities will return, said a top government official on Wednesday.

“When cities begin to normalize and container cities are set up, our evacuated citizens will, of course, return to their cities,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said in a statement on Wednesday on the aftermath of the quakes in southern Türkiye, which left thousands of buildings leveled.

“Maybe their first year won’t be the same as before, we will try to make sure their needs are catered to,” he added.

Speaking at the Disaster Coordination Center in Kahramanmaras, the province at the epicenters of last week’s 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, Soylu added that initial financial aid of 10,000 liras ($530) has been provided to nearly 336,000 families so far.

Soylu also shot down claims that there is an outbreak of acute intestinal disease in quake-hit areas, adding that the Health Ministry is vigilant over any epidemic.

Soylu said that approximately 200,000 tents have been sent to the quake zone as temporary shelters and many were already set up.

Adding that approximately 100,000 more tents will be sent, Soylu said: "Living spaces will be built inside containers. Places for these have been determined and infrastructure is being built. This is a one-year process,” he said.

On the scale of the destruction, Soylu said nearly one-fourth of the buildings in Kahramanmaras suffered damage, and that half of the housing in Antakya, Hatay were either demolished by the quakes or need to be demolished as part of efforts to rebuild the city.

Soup kitchens, safety crucial

Emphasizing that the soup kitchens in the earthquake area should be sustainable for at least a year, Soylu said, "We need to make the needs of the soup kitchens for cooking and serving our nation sustainable. We also need to make dry food, clean and brand-new clothing sustainable.”

On Turkish authorities’ efforts to provide safety and security to the communities in quake-hit provinces, Soylu also said security forces in quake zones have been beefed up threefold to ensure coordination of humanitarian efforts and to maintain order.

Source: Anadolu Agency