EMEP report details ongoing struggles six months after Turkey's earthquakes
The Labor Party (EMEP) released a comprehensive report on conditions across provinces impacted by the devastating earthquakes that struck southeastern Turkey in February. Six months later, citizens still face shelter, health care, education, agriculture, and employment crises documented by the leftist opposition party.
EMEP Chair Selma Gurkan and MP Sevda Karaca presented findings from visits and meetings in the 11 affected provinces. They highlighted harsh living conditions, environmental hazards from rubble removal, 2.4 million students lacking schools, agricultural land expropriation, lack of accountability for collapsed buildings, and workers losing jobs and rights.
Shelters remain inadequate
The report found tent cities lack sufficient water, hygiene, and protection from heat. Psychosocial and cash aid has not met needs, forcing many into manual labor. Container cities are overcrowded with scant shade. Rents have skyrocketed, pricing out survivors.
Looming health disasters
Rubble dumping near water sources raises dust and asbestos exposure risks. Frequent power outages spoil food and halt purifiers. Insect and rodent issues grow due to weak municipal action. The devastated health infrastructure, especially in Hatay, must be addressed, raising risks of epidemics, malnutrition, and untreated chronic illnesses. Women face particular challenges accessing contraceptives and maternal care.
Millions of students lack schooling
Over 2.4 million students in the region need help to receive an education. Many schools became government buildings after the quakes. No arrangements were made for teachers.
Farmers face land expropriation
Villages initially received delayed aid. Destroyed irrigation canals still need to be repaired. Hatay authorities are expropriating agricultural and residential land from villagers for rebuilding while excluding AKP-connected villas. Livestock breeders were forced to sell animals prematurely due to lacking feed.
No accountability for collapsed buildings
No public officials have faced prosecution for the thousands of deaths from building collapses. Instead, engineers and architects involved in construction have been targeted. Rebuilding contracts went to AKP-tied firms.
Workers lost jobs, rights
Many workers didn't receive back pay for time off after the quakes and lost benefits. Thousands of workers who migrated from the region remain unemployed. Many had leave deducted from annual time off. Refugees also still need adequate shelter and aid.
The report paints a grim picture of ongoing struggles six months later. The party demands greater accountability and urgent action to address persistent humanitarian crises and prevent deepening inequality in rebuilding efforts.