The construction of houses for those made homeless by the enormous earthquake that shook sections of the country and neighboring Syria and left tens of thousands dead has reportedly begun, according to Turkish authorities.
The government wants to first construct 855 homes in the towns of Nurdagi and Islahiye in the Gaziantep province, according to tweets from Murat Kurum, the minister for the environment, urbanization, and climate change.
Less than three weeks have passed since the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that killed more than 47,000 people in Turkey and Syria, mostly in Turkey, struck.
According to Turkish authorities, the earthquake on February 6 and subsequent powerful earthquakes that followed it caused about 173,000 buildings, holding over 534,000 flats or other units, to either collapse or suffer significant damage.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, who is up for reelection in either May or June, has pledged to rebuild homes within a year. However, critics have warned that moving too quickly could only result in the construction of more subpar homes.
The government of Mr. Erdogan, which has been in power for the previous 20 years, has also come under fire from opposition parties for neglecting to enforce building codes, which they claim contributed to the disaster’s scope.
According to experts, many of the facilities that collapsed were constructed using subpar materials and techniques and frequently did not meet official regulations.
The United Nations Children’s Fund reported on Friday that more than a million people were residing in makeshift housing, including hotels, stadiums, gyms, and dorms, with limited access to basic services.
Afshan Khan, regional director for Unicef in Europe and Central Asia, stated that “the children and families who survived the earthquake now face homelessness, lack of food and water, and consistently below-freezing nighttime temperatures.”
The urbanization minister, Mr. Kurum, published a video of an excavator leveling ground.
All of our efforts are focused on giving our folks houses as soon as possible, he stated. “Where we have signed contracts and finished ground survey work, we promptly began to work.”
An earlier decree by Mr. Erdogan on Friday allows people, corporations, or organizations to construct homes or offices and donate them to Mr. Kurum’s ministry, which will subsequently distribute them to people who lost their homes or places of business.
Bekir Bozdag, the minister of justice, announced late on Thursday that 171 arrests had already been made out of 583 contractors or other people suspected of being at fault for collapsing structures.