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+1 Street home to Turkiye's earthquake victims with Down syndrome

May 25, 2023 at 3:27 pm

An aerial view of container city after 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes hit Kahramanmaras, Turkiye on April 13, 2023 [Halil Fidan – Anadolu Agency]

After two devastating earthquakes hit south-east Turkiye on 6 February, the country’s Interior Ministry set up a “+1 Street” for quake victims with Down syndrome, Anadolu News Agency reports.

At a container city located at Kahramanmaras Sutcu Imam University, the +1 Street with social spaces and activities is serving individuals with Down syndrome and their families.

All the needs of the earthquake victims are met under the coordination of AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority), and the containers are equipped with amenities such as hot water, a kitchen, a bathroom and a toilet.

With an extra chromosome, people with Down syndrome have some level of learning disability and need more regular care.

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The social spaces in the +1 Street include a hobby garden, courses and children’s playgrounds, and a nearby forest where they hold sports activities.

Sakarya Governor, Cetin Oktay Kaldirim, who serves as the coordinating governor in Kahramanmaras, told Anadolu that special works requiring greater sensitivity are being carried out currently.

Explaining that the initial needs after the earthquakes and the current needs of people differ, Kaldirim emphasised they have created the +1 Street providing all services and activities needed by earthquake victims.

Rabia Eren, a mother affected by the earthquake, explained that her house suffered severe damage during the tremors and her two children with Down syndrome stayed at the +1 Street where other children and their families battling Down syndrome were more helpful and sympathetic to each other.

Esra Eren, another person with Down syndrome, expressed her happiness about being with her friends and thanked those who helped establish +1 Street.

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