Turkey and Syria have not been able to recover from the devastating earthquake for a year – some people live in temporary hangars or tents

Hatay Province, Antakya in Southern Turkey, next to Syria. Still wrecked and ruined. Residential blocks are still like after the war. 90% of the city is destroyed. Thousands of people who have lost their homes continue to live in makeshift hangars or tents, just like nine-year-old Ahmet.

“It is very cold at night, but in the morning – you can get by,” he said, showing the conditions in which he lives.

“When it rains, water comes in,” his mother said.

Right now, it’s a little over 15 degrees here in the tent, which is the family’s temporary home. A total of eight people live here.

“Three children are sleeping here on the carpet, I am on the couch, my little brother is in bed. We have applied for a place in the container, but we haven’t got it yet,” said Ahmet’s brother.

In the city, next to the river, some locals have built their own temporary shelters because they cannot afford to pay builders to restore their ruined houses.

“I still can’t get over the fear of being in a building. So I’d rather be in a hut or a tent like this for a while, because if it collapses, at least we won’t die,” admitted a resident of Antakya.

But the building renovation works are not going as fast as we would like. More than 100,000 residential buildings collapsed in the earthquake. They are either renovated or rebuilt by order of the government.

A few days ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also visited the devastated Antakya to commemorate the dead and pay tribute to the victims.

The president has promised to rebuild more than 300,000 homes by the end of next month, in time for local elections in March, but skeptics call the promise unrealistic.

“We held a lottery for more than 7,000 houses in Hatay and more than 10,000 in Gaziantep. And today we will draw more than 9,000 more houses in Kahramanmaraş, we will give people the keys to the apartments,” promised the Turkish president.

Kamil, who lives in Antakya, lost his wife in the earthquake. For 36 hours he slept next to his dead wife in the rubble, he still has no news about a new place to live.

“The state has not explained anything to us. They just realized that we don’t really have any information, and then they said that they will offer us apartments, but we don’t know when and how it will happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, the anniversary of the tragic earthquake is also being commemorated in neighboring Syria, where the natural disaster claimed nearly 9,000 lives and destroyed hundreds of houses.

This is the first birthday of the baby girl Afrai al Sudani, who was born on the day of the earthquake and luckily survived the rubble. When she was found, Afra and her mother were still united by the umbilical cord, but her mother was already dead by then. Afrai has a foster family, but hundreds of Syrian children have become orphans after the devastating earthquake.

It is another serious problem in the already long war and now earthquake-stricken Syria, which also cannot afford to rebuild houses due to shortages.

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