No solution to their complaints for 45 years

The carbon dioxide gas formed underground after the Çaldıran earthquake has reached a level that threatens the health of the people of the neighbourhood of Beyazıt.

The residents of the neighbourhood of Beyazıt, disturbed by the smell that started after the earthquake that took place in 1976 in Caldıran District of Van and increased for the last four years, are waiting for a solution.

3,840 people lost their lives in the 7.5-magnitude earthquake in Van's Muradiye and Çaldıran Districts on 24 November 1976.

80 percent of the houses were demolished and became unusable. After the earthquake, many people froze and died due to the delay in relief efforts.

It has been 45 years since the Çaldıran earthquake, but its effects still continue. The carbon dioxide gas found underground in the Beyazıt District in Çaldıran threatens the health of the people of the neighbourhood. The people of the neighbourhood, who have been disturbed by the increasing methane gas in the last 4 years, are waiting for a solution from the authorities. Upon the complaints made in 2019, the officials from the Mining Technical and Exploration Directorate stated in their report that the gas in question was dangerous, but no action has been taken so far.

Zübeyde Trak, one of the residents of the neighbourhood, said, “The sulphur smell that emerged after the earthquake has been bothering us since 1976. They built a structure on it, we tried very hard not to do it, but the authorities did not listen to us. We cannot sit at home because of the intense smell in Çaldıran, where the air temperature drops to minus 40 degrees during the winter months."

Another resident of the neighbourhood, Hakan Yıldız, complains about the sulphur smell. Noting that the houses were built randomly without any research after the Çaldıran earthquake, Yıldız said that this is why the underground gas spread disturbingly to the whole environment. Noting that they had made complaints many times before, Yıldız said, “The authorities came and prepared a report that this area posed a danger, but no measures were taken. We cannot feed animals because of these gases; we cannot plant anything in the soil and our health is deteriorating day by day."

Providing information on the subject, Chamber of Chemical Engineers member in Van province Ümit Can said that the methane gas formed in the event of fault breaks caused by the earthquake can turn into explosives. Expressing that they will be able to find out what proportion of methane gas is present after a research they will do in Beyazıt Neighbourhood during the week, Can said: “Fault fractures and septic pits in the environment cause methane gas and spreads sulphur smell. While this situation causes chronic diseases in children, it causes health problems such as COPD in adults. It is a situation that must be taken into consideration. Our citizens living there applied to us. We will start the necessary researches in this regard."