Quake survivors suffer in Europe’s snow, cold
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/02/2012 (4132 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
ANKARA, Turkey — Freezing temperatures and heavy snow in Turkey are making life miserable for the more than 140,000 residents who were left homeless by the nation’s devastating earthquake four months ago and are still living in tents or temporary shelters.
The cold snap, which began in Europe in late January, has left some families in Turkey’s quake relief centres trying to stay warm by using coal stoves or electric heaters as their drinking water freezes overnight. Nearly 30 centimetres of snow have fallen in the quake zone, and temperatures have dipped as low as -20 C.
Elsewhere in Europe the situation has been much worse, with hundreds of people, most them homeless, dying in the cold and many cities and towns trapped by much deeper snow.
In Romania, officials reported 13 more deaths Friday and rounded up about 220 homeless people to shelter them from the deep freeze at night. Huge chunks of ice blocked navigation on the Danube River in Romania, one of Europe’s key waterways.
In October, a magnitude-7.2 earthquake and a powerful aftershock flattened some 2,000 buildings and killed 644 people around the city of Van, a provincial capital in southeastern Turkey. The government responded by moving 134,000 people to temporary homes and 7,500 others to tents.
At one of the camps Friday, Gonul Meral, 33, who is living in a tent with her two children and unemployed husband, said: “I am doing the dishes now, but the water in the basin is frozen, so I have to heat it up again. It’s so hard.”
The house she and her family were renting before the disaster was destroyed by the quake.
“I miss cooking there very much,” she said in a telephone interview. “Sometimes, I feel that I can’t stand it another day,” Meral said, sobbing.
Ragtag encampments have sprung up in empty patches of ground in the quake zone.
These people say they prefer to stay close to their property to guard it, even if their life is tougher than it would be in the relief centres.
— The Associated Press