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Turkey quake survivors face freezing nights

28 October 2011

With temperatures close to freezing at night, the Turkish Red Crescent continues working round the clock to meet the needs of tens of thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake on 23 October.

It has already established two camps, with tents sheltering 260 families in Ercis, and 232 families in Van – two of the worst affected areas. Red Crescent volunteers are distributing blankets and heaters, and delivering hot meals via a mobile kitchen.

Funds from the British Red Cross appeal, launched on 26 October, will support the work of the Turkish Red Crescent as it provides thousands of survivors with woollen blankets, sleeping bags, and family tents suitable for the freezing winter conditions. Based on its initial assessment, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies plans to assist 50,000 people for nine months until June 2012.

Emergency response

The death toll from the 7.2 magnitude quake has exceeded 500 with some 2,300 injured. The Turkish Red Crescent relief operation will prioritise sheltering the most vulnerable through the winter months.

The damage caused to houses and infrastructure is enormous, both in urban and rural settings. Many thousands of people are still sleeping in the open as the area is still experiencing aftershocks - 900 since Sunday, including one of 5.7 magnitude yesterday in Van province. Even if houses are still standing, some residents are afraid to stay indoors.

More funds needed

“Hundreds of people have been confirmed dead, thousands are injured and tens of thousands are homeless,” said Katy Attfield, British Red Cross head of disaster management.

“The area affected is mountainous, it’s freezing, and making sure survivors have protection against the elements is vital for keeping them safe.

“The Turkish Red Crescent is doing an incredible job, and as the scale of the disaster becomes clear, there is an important role for us to support them as they respond to this tragedy.”

In the unlikely event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters anywhere in the world.

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