Solidarity Chain collects SFr17 million for Turkey

Painful memories are not the only reminder of the quake: reconstruction is lagging way behind schedule Keystone

The Swiss Broadcasting Corporation's Solidarity Chain says it has collected SFr17.6 million ($10.3 million) to aid reconstruction efforts in Turkey, one year after the devastating earthquake.

This content was published on August 16, 2000 - 17:24

The chain, which raises money for Swiss charities and aid organisations, says its partners in the region have already spent SFr10 million, and work is still continuing.

Reporting on the past year's activities, the Solidarity Chain said that, following last August's disaster, it had helped to provide medicines, blood supplies and blankets to the victims through agencies such as the Swiss Red Cross and the Catholic charity, Caritas.

Priority was also given to housing the homeless, and five camps were set up in the Izmit region to provide temporary shelter.

"About a quarter of the money, or slightly over SFr4 million, was spent in this phase," explained the Solidarity Chain's director, Felix Bollmann.

With the initial needs of the population cared for, the Solidarity Chain says the agencies have switched from emergency aid to reconstruction work. The Swiss Red Cross is working on restoring water supplies to 146 villages and schools, and health centres are being rebuilt.

Bollmann said it would be another 12 to 18 months before these projects were completed. Part of the reason is that they could not be started until a few months ago.

"You cannot start reconstruction immediately after an earthquake, since you have to clarify the legal status of the land and the geological status of the ground. The real construction started this Spring only."

He said many important buildings, such as schools, could not be built on the same spot on which they were located before the earthquake. Time was lost finding suitable new land for reconstruction.

A total of 20,000 people died when the quake struck western Turkey on August 17 last year.

swissinfo with agencies

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