When a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck on 23 October, the Turkish Red Crescent worked round the clock to help survivors.
In total, 650,000 people were affected by the earthquake – 644 people died and a further 2,500 were injured or hospitalised. More than 25,750 homes have collapsed or are so damaged they are uninhabitable. Around 22,000 people are still living in temporary shelters.
The Turkish Red Crescent is one of the largest and best equipped disaster response organisations in Europe. It has made 232 Red Crescent staff and volunteers available, and deployed a total of 50 vehicles for transporting relief items.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the Turkish Red Crescent responded by deploying response teams and providing food, sleeping bags, tents and blankets.
Many people have been made homeless by the earthquake, and freezing temperatures and snowfall in the mountainous area where the quake occurred have added to the dangers they face. The Turkish Red Crescent already had a stock of Mevlana houses – prefabricated tents for four or five people, which can withstand winter conditions. These were quickly used to shelter people in Van, Erciş and Özalp.
Mevlana houses and tents provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are now providing shelter for over 285,000 people. By 26 December 2011, more than 53,000 tents, 150,000 blankets, 23,000 sleeping bags had also been dispatched to the affected area.
The Turkish Red Crescent is working to provide improved living conditions for 6,600 people living in transitional shelters. It is in the process of delivering 2,000 container houses – complete with a kitchen, shower, toilet, electricity installations and improved sanitation facilities – to the affected area, to house people while their homes are being rebuilt.
It has also been providing psycho-social support in these communities by:
• running painting workshops and organising games for children
• giving talks for young people on the psychological effects of disasters
• training women on how to take care of their children in the aftermath of a disaster.
The British Red Cross appeal helped the Turkish Red Crescent support people who were affected.
Updated February 2011