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Healing and reconstruction in Türkiye


Healing and reconstruction in Türkiye

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Farmers and rural communities need support to resume food production and livelihoods after major earthquake

06/04/2023

There are dozens of cars lined up and crowds of people on the dusty road of Yaylakonak, in Turkey’s Adiyaman province. People gathered here on the 36th day after the earthquake to mourn. About three thousand people gathered in this town built on a high plateau to commemorate those who lost their loved ones.

“We have organized 100 funerals here alone,” says Abuzer Aydin, the mayor of Yaylakonak, leaning on the rubble piled up in what remains of his village. “Our houses and stables collapsed. Our water channels have been destroyed. ; our hives were destroyed, and even the surface of our fields was destroyed.

The province of Adiyaman, which is mainly an agricultural area, is one of the provinces most affected by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and by aftershocks of approximately the same magnitude which wreaked havoc in most of southern Turkey and northern Syria. The death toll in this governorate alone stands at 3,500 people. The number of buildings that were seriously damaged, collapsed or had to be urgently demolished totaled around 11,000 buildings, while around 31,000 houses were damaged.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is supporting government efforts to help earthquake-affected communities maintain and restore basic food production, while assessing damage and broader agricultural needs. And she points Initial assessments Agriculture was severely affected and the value of damage caused to this sector is estimated at around US$1.3 billion and losses incurred at around US$5.1 billion.

The great suffering of the Fertile Crescent

The 11 provinces affected by the earthquake are known as Turkey’s Fertile Crescent, an area containing 4 million hectares of agricultural land. In total, 15.3 percent of the country’s agricultural production comes from these earthquake-hit governorates. In total, 15.73 million people live there, including 1.73 million Syrian refugees.

Healing and reconstruction in Türkiye
Healing and reconstruction in Türkiye

Thousands of buildings and barns were destroyed by the earthquake. Tens of thousands of people have died in Turkey and more than 100,000 animals have died according to initial estimates. ©FAO/Turuhan Alkir

Value chain disruption

All links in the value chain, from production and storage to transportation, have been hit hard and serious concerns remain about long-term food security as agricultural and livestock enterprises are under threat. Access to agricultural inputs has become difficult in the region and certain agricultural activities have been stopped due to the loss and scarcity of labor. The situation becomes more worrying as the summer harvest season approaches.

Animal losses have been particularly high in this region, as these eleven provinces are home to 16.3 percent of the small animal population and 12 percent of the large animal population in Turkey. Even after the earthquake, many families had no way to feed their animals and were forced to sell them at low prices.

The mayor, Mr. Aydın, says: “We sold the animals so that they would not die of hunger. »

He tells us what his village was like while greeting the crowds who came to pay their respects: “This village was very productive. We raised bees and animals. We had fruit trees. But now we have lost everything we had.

He adds sadly but without despair: “This is the land of our ancestors now, we are in mourning, but we will rise again. We will rebuild everything that was destroyed by the earthquake. »

There is an urgent need for fertilizer and fodder

A large crowd of mourners gathered in Ahmet Hoca, another mountain village in Adiyaman province. On the outskirts of the village, there are rows of barns and ruined houses. The village chief, Mr. Mukhtar Zeynel Öztürk, shows us the rubble and says: “We had 15 bodies here alone and more than 100 animals trapped under the rubble. »

Mr. Mukhtar explains that the villagers need all kinds of help: “We urgently need fodder and fertilizer. The season has already started, but we have not yet been able to put fertilizer on our fields if we have animals to replace those we lost. , we may be able to continue production.”

Healing and reconstruction in Türkiye

Agricultural machinery was also trapped under the rubble. They are among the most urgent needs for farmers to resume food production. ©FAO/Ecenaz Yüzbaşıoğlu

“Farmers mainly need fertilizer,” explains Ayşegül Selışık, FAO Deputy Representative in Turkey. “In addition, canals and irrigation equipment will soon be needed. It is the responsibility of FAO and other organizations to replace them. “Channels and facilities so that rural life can return to what it was before and so that people can find ways to move forward without despair.”

“Our efforts will help achieve this goal,” says Abdul Majid, FAO’s global coordinator for the food security cluster. “The devastation here is enormous…and we have seen enormous losses to both humans and animals. perhaps the international community will react as soon as possible.

Despite the mourning, thoughts turn to this year’s harvest to protect these rural communities from another disaster. Mr. Majid adds: “There are livestock and agricultural products grown that need to be protected. We must focus on agriculture and livestock to protect this year’s crops and remaining animals. »

FAO, in collaboration with the government, other UN agencies and local partners, is responding to emergency needs by providing cash, rehabilitating damaged household infrastructure, distributing animal feed and by providing agricultural inputs.

More must be done, and quickly Helping people protect their remaining assets in a timely manner, protect their crops, rebuild their livelihoods and thus find ways to recover.

“We need to help people recover as quickly as possible,” adds Mr. Majid. “Otherwise we risk losing an important opportunity and the entire harvest season. »

Links related to the topic

for more information

Website: Food and Agriculture Organization of Türkiye

Website: Country profiles: Türkiye

Website: FAO Office for Emergencies and Resilience

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