Turkish government calls on industry to provide 30 000 prefab homes; UK firms already in region will get priority on rebuilding work.
The Turkish government has asked UK construction companies to provide 30 000 prefabricated buildings to house earthquake victims before the onset of winter.

A spokesman at the Turkish Embassy in London said: “We have established a number of tent cities but they can only be used for a maximum of three months. The priority for us now is to get prefabricated buildings. The government wants to purchase them now.”

The spokesman said the Turkish government hoped that all countries would contribute to the reconstruction effort, but added: “Some priority will be given to companies already working in Turkey on joint ventures. Existing co-operation will undoubtedly develop further.”

British companies currently working in the region include Laing, Taylor Woodrow and Ove Arup & Partners.

Construction minister Nick Raynsford was scheduled to lead a trade mission to the region on 20-24 September, accompanied by representatives from Amec, Balfour Beatty, Kvaerner and engineer Mott MacDonald. A DETR spokesman said it could provide an opportunity for UK contractors to respond to the disaster. “If the mission goes ahead, we may need to redevelop its priorities to explore how British companies can get involved in reconstruction work.”

An insider at British Trade International, a joint Department of Trade and Industry/Foreign Office body, said the government was also considering sending a taskforce to the region similar to the one organised for Kosovo. “It’s under consideration, but we will have to see what the work entails first. At the moment, we’re waiting to hear from the Turkish government, but people do need to be housed. There’s an immediate demand for 30 000 prefab buildings within six weeks. Anyone who can meet that should contact BTI.”

Some priority will be given to companies already working in Turkey on joint ventures

Turkish Embassy Spokesman

Current estimates put reconstruction costs at about £20bn. The World Bank has already reallocated £70m of existing loans to Turkey and will make a further £80m available.

The Turkish Embassy spokesman said the most serious problem after accommodation was the damage to the sewerage and water supplies. He added that a number of bridges and hospitals had also been destroyed by the quake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter Scale.

Shoddy construction work is being blamed for much of the loss of life. Years of migration to cities in the industrialised north-west of the country has led to a proliferation of hastily built homes and other buildings.

The Department for International Development said it had a team in Turkey assessing the immediate needs of the region and it was expected to report its findings in the next few days.