DIYARBAKIR – Thousands of people are leaving the city of Van in the southeast of Turkey, after it was hit by two earthquakes in less than three weeks. According to Turkish media, the migrants say that the city is no longer livable: there is not enough electricity, and life in tents is increasingly difficult now that it snows.
The first earthquake, on 23 October, left more than 600 people dead and made thousands of people homeless. The second quake, last wednesday, costed the life of around fourty people. Many buildings, weakened by the first quake, collapsed. Public life hasn’t since started again: schools will only open gain in the beginning of December, many shops are closed and at night it’s dark in the city due to a lack of electricity.
It started snowing in Van, a city with approximately 400,000 inhabitants. Life in tents is hard, and TV channels show footage of people without a tent who kneel down underneath sheds to eat their charity dinner. Thousands of people now decide to no longer wait for improvement and leave the city by bus or car. They plan to spend the winter with relatives elswhere in Turkey. People without transport, money or family elsewhere, stay behind.