Turkey earthquake victims to start moving to container cities

Victims of the February 6 earthquakes in south Turkey will on Thursday start moving into container cities in Adiyaman province, Turkish officials confirmed.

Turkish transport and infrastructure directorate official Adil Karaismailoglu told Anadolu “we have prepared the infrastructure for most of the container homes. Mobility will begin from tomorrow (Thursday).”

He said the first phase will see the establishment of 15,000 container homes in a large open space, adding that the Turkish government is also working on constructing prefabricated homes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Turkey will start building more than 200,000 homes as early as next month in areas devastated by the twin earthquakes. He said the process will be completed within a year.

So far the death toll is over 42,000 in Turkey and over 5,000 in Syria following the deadly quakes.

Turkey starts to rebuild

As the country moves towards recovery, the government on Wednesday launched a temporary wage support scheme and banned layoffs in 10 cities to protect workers and businesses from the financial impact of the massive earthquakes.

Under Turkey’s economic relief plan, employers whose workplaces were “heavily or moderately damaged” get wage support for workers whose hours had been cut, the country’s Official Gazette said on Wednesday.

A ban on layoffs was also introduced in 10 earthquake-hit provinces. Both moves appeared aimed at easing an exodus from a region which is home to 13 million people, Reuters reported.

“People whose homes or businesses are damaged are now seeking jobs outside the disaster area,” economist Enver Erkan said. “It is also necessary to provide incentives to businesses who employ workers in the earthquake area.”

Urbanisation Minister Murat Kurum said 156,000 buildings with more than 500,000 apartments were destroyed or severely damaged by the earthquake.

Business groups and economists have said rebuilding could cost Turkey up to $100 billion and shave one to two percentage points off growth this year.

However, around 865,000 people are living in tents and 23,500 in containers, while 376,000 are in student dormitories and public guesthouses outside the earthquake zone, Erdogan said on Tuesday.