Earthquake aid, Turkey: 29 Nov 1999

News and Press Release
Originally published
Dear friends,
This past week was spent largely at the second earthquake site in the region of Duzce, Bolu. Here is the report of one of our volunteers who was one of those who travelled to Duzce three hours after the quake:

"I can't describe the extent of the chaos, destruction and suffering. Of course I had never witnessed such a scene, but it seemed like a war zone. It was like being in a disaster movie: flattened buildings, hanging power lines, fires, piles of rubble and a lot of disorientation.

The people were in shock and grieving all around us. Many had lost children, fathers, grandmothers etc. No family was untouched. There were military everywhere, rescue workers and others trying to save people's lives as quickly as possible.

So we went around checking people, treating injuries, bandaging wounds, giving out pain meds, antibiotics, tranquillizers, food, water, blankets, tarps, and touching people's lives and bringing healing. It was God's grace that helped us cope with the situation, as we were there 24 hours straight without sleep.

It was a divine appointment for me to use my nursing skills. I believe we even saved a one year old girl's life, first treating her burns and arranging for transport for her to hospital. There is much I could say ... "

We are approaching the completion of nearly four months of active earthquake relief. Because of some upcoming changes (described below), I thought it would be useful to review what has been accomplished during this time:

Case management

We have provided approximately 350 families with shelter (tents or prefabricated housing) in the areas in which they preferred to be located. In addition to shelter, we are in the process of providing hundreds of stoves and heaters. In four areas we are/will be providing a toilet/shower unit to groups of contacts who are located at a distance from such facilities. We provide food and wood when appropriate as well.

After the second earthquake in Bolu, we have erected tents and provided nearly a thousand pallets to raise the floors of tents out of the rain and mud.

Trauma counselling

In early September we sponsored a two day seminar on trauma counselling. 104 people attended the seminar with 84 of them receiving certificates. We provided a trauma counsellor at the medical clinic at the World Relief tent city on an ongoing basis. Other individuals were working in Yalova and Gölc=FCk at tent cities there.

In late October, we began a children's programme three days a week at the Derince camp. Through stories, songs, crafts and games, children are invited to express their feelings in healthy ways and to taste some joy!

Building inspections

A building inspector from Alaska with a professional geologist as translator travelled for three weeks to different areas to inspect individual homes.

Derince camp

We are based in this site that is managed by World Relief with the Turkish churches responsible for the social services. In addition to running the children's programme, we have sponsored the building of porches and awnings on each of the 300 container homes. These are doing a good job of sheltering people and their belongings from the rain and mud. We have also provided all the heating units for each home.

Hasanpa=FEa Primary School

This school, located in the Hasanpa=FEa district of Uzunçiftlik (Kocaeli) was destroyed in the 17th August earthquake. Five different classes of children were crowded into one tent before we provided two more tents to use as additional classrooms. We are now in the process of buiding a new prefabricated school which will have five classrooms, a teacher's room, a kitchen and four toilets/sinks. The foundation was laid on 22 November and the building arrives on Monday the 29:th. It will be constructed at the site over 5 days. At the opening, we will present each student and teacher with a small parcel of gifts such as toys, notebooks, pens and story books.

Hamidiye Village Primary School

This school was not damaged but, like the village itself, is suffering from overcrowding due to the influx of homeless people coming up from Golcuk. We have provided two prefabricated classrooms to aid the school's overcrowding problem.
Christmas "baskets"

We are already shopping for the goods to prepare 100 Christmas parcels to distribute to those who have received little help in other ways. These baskets will not contain "staples" but special treats such as nuts, dried fruit, sausage, olive oil and sweets. We want to particularly bless those who have not received much blessing in other ways.

Why "goodbye?"

I am currently on route to the US to study. While I am gone, M. W. will be acting project coordinator and these updates will continue to come from him on a biweekly basis. One of the courses I will be taking is "International Community Development" which I hope will help prepare us to meet ongoing development needs in the spring.

Together with you,
Earthquake Disaster Relief Coordinator

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