On February 20, Türkiye was jolted by another earthquake with magnitudes of 6.4 and 5.8 in the devastated city of Hatay, killing six people and injuring 294.
The country’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority, AFAD, announced that Hatay’s Defne district was shaken by an earthquake of magnitude 6.4 at 20:04 (GMT +3) on February 20.
The province was struck by 32 aftershocks, the biggest of which was 5.8 in magnitude.
AFAD stated that six people died as a result of the shakes, and 294 people were admitted to the nearest hospitals, as of 9:00 (GMT +3) February 21.
One of two buildings in Hatay is inhabitable
Hatay is one of the most impacted cities in Türkiye from the devastating earthquakes that happened on February 6, killing more than 41,000 people countrywide, injuring hundreds of thousands. The number of people who are displaced or have migrated to other cities is estimated to reach millions.
The Ministry of Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change inspected 830 thousand buildings in 11 cities affected by the earthquake and assessed that 105,000 buildings are heavily damaged or collapsed.
“One of two buildings in Hatay’s province of Antakya has collapsed,” Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had said in a public statement on February 15, a week after the earthquakes. The rest were deemed highly inhabitable.
The number of people who are impacted by the third quake is expected to increase as some have returned to their houses even though they were damaged, citing the lack of accommodation aid that reached the province.
Erdoğan: Reconstruction to begin
Visiting the disaster-struck city of Hatay hours before the 6.4 earthquake, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his alliance partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), leader Devlet Bahçeli, were emphasising the need to begin reconstruction efforts.
Giving a statement in Kahramanmaraş, the epicentre of the two devastating earthquakes, after their visit to Hatay, Erdoğan said, “We have come to a point that we can take the tangible steps for permanent housing.”
“Just in March, we are taking the first step for the construction of 200,000 houses in 11 cities,” he said, adding that one third of the houses in Kahramanmaraş are inhabitable and 300,000 people in the city are currently living in temporary accommodation facilities such as containers or tents.
AFAD has announced early in the day that search and rescue efforts have come to an end except for a few buildings in Hatay and Kahramanmaraş, and debris removal has started.
The construction is expected to start in March as the “related tender processes” end, AFAD leader Yunus Sezer said on February 19.
Concerns over the tender process
As the new tender process will start soon, YetkinReport writer Filiz Pehlivan emphasised the recent amendment to the Public Procurement Law by the Presidential Decree.
She stated that with the new regulation, “all kinds of procurement of goods and services and tenders for construction works to be carried out by the Presidency due to the necessity to fulfil the services of the Presidency in accordance with the characteristics of the Presidential services and security conditions” are to be carried out through the bargaining procedure.
In addition, the Bargaining Procedure method could also be applied in the event of “sudden and unexpected events such as natural disasters, epidemics, or danger of loss of life or property; or in cases that are special in terms of construction technique; or in cases determined by the administration to be urgent in terms of ensuring the safety of the structure or of life and property; or in cases where the tender must be carried out urgently upon the emergence of events that cannot be foreseen in advance by the administration.”
In the new regulation, “negotiated tendering” is defined as the tender method.
A negotiated tender is a procedure where bidders invited by the administration can bid without an announcement and without a requirement that at least three bidders be invited to the tender.
The ministry will also be able to procure services through “direct procurement” by negotiating the price. In this case, direct procurement will be possible without the obligation to establish a tender commission and search for qualification criteria.