Now is time for world to support people of Türkiye: UNDP


Recovery, reconstruction assessment report shows that ‘needs are vast, urgent,’ says Türkiye representative Louisa Vinton
After two powerful earthquakes that struck Türkiye on Feb. 6 turned cities into rubble along a 500-kilometer (311-mile) diameter, “now is the time for the world to come to Türkiye’s aid,” the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Türkiye representative said Monday.
“The scale of destruction is hard to comprehend. The affected region is as big in area as Austria or Portugal, housing a population of more than 15 million people (16.4% of the country’s total population),” Louisa Vinton said in a written statement to Anadolu.
“An estimated 2.3 million people are currently living in tents and containers in the region, while millions more are believed to have left the earthquake zone for shelter outside,” Vinton added.
She noted that the Turkish government has committed huge resources to help those affected and has announced ambitious plans not only for temporary shelters but also for full reconstruction.
The world has also raced to support the response, with 88 countries dispatching more than 11,000 personnel to support search and rescue efforts and provide emergency medical assistance, she said.
Meanwhile, the UN system has also mobilized its full resources. UN agencies are supporting the emergency response, with 6 million hot meals delivered so far along with tents, warm clothing, and hygiene supplies, as well as “early recovery” efforts aimed at getting life back to normal for affected people as soon as possible.
‘Needs are vast and urgent’
Recalling the flash appeal of $1 billion that was launched for Türkiye on Feb. 16, Vinton said that so far, $167.4 million (16.6%) has been collected, and “though a small share of what was requested, this is still a sizable amount.”
“Will this be enough? Not by a long shot, it seems, especially when the costs of recovery and reconstruction are taken into account,” she warned, adding a preliminary assessment of the financial impact of the earthquakes prepared by the government of Türkiye with support from the UNDP and other UN agencies working together with the World Bank and the European Union puts the cost of reconstruction at $103.6 billion.
According to a report by the Türkiye Earthquakes Recovery and Reconstruction Assessment (TERRA), published on March 17, the estimated cost of the destroyed housing alone is $66.2 billion.
Infrastructure and utilities will require an estimated cost of $10.2 billion, education $6.7 billion, healthcare $5.6 billion, and other expenses $14.9 billion.
“This vast amount is an accurate reflection of the dramatic scale of the destruction that Türkiye has experienced,” she said. “Equivalent to 9% of Turkish GDP, it also suggests that even a country as economically resilient as Türkiye will struggle to afford the cost of reconstruction on its own.”
She stressed that closing the gap between needs and means will thus depend “heavily on international solidarity and generosity.”
“As the TERRA (report) shows, the needs are vast and urgent, now is the time for the world to come to Türkiye’s aid,” Vinton said.
She said these numbers from the report will be presented at a donor conference which will be attended by 500 world leaders in Brussels later in the day.
“The world’s leading economies will have a chance to stand with Türkiye at a time of utmost need by pledging sufficient financial support,” she said.
“What donors need to remember as they formulate their pledges is that this is an opportunity to reciprocate the unparalleled generosity that Türkiye has shown over the past decade, in providing a safe haven to the world’s largest refugee population,” she said, adding that Syrians accounted for 13.7% of the earthquake victims in the country.
Recalling UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ remarks on Feb. 9 that “a center of solidarity is now an epicenter of suffering,” she said “the international community needs to show the people of Türkiye the same kind of support and generosity they have shown in receiving, protecting and assisting millions of refugees and displaced people.”
More than 49,500 people were killed in Türkiye by magnitude 7.7 and 7.6 quakes that hit on Feb. 6, according to officials.
Over 13.5 million people have been affected in Türkiye by the massive quakes which struck the provinces of Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Gaziantep, Adiyaman, Malatya, Adana, Diyarbakir, Kilis, Osmaniye, Sanliurfa, and Elazig.