The agency's is working with Christian, Muslim and secular local partners in both immediate relief and longer-term rehabilitation interventions. "The needs for food, shelter, and longer-term reconstruction assistance are immense," said Michael Watt, Catholic Relief Services' Senior Team Leader for the Middle East and North Africa. "CRS has identified strong local partners who have the commitment and capacity to bring assistance to those most in need."
The agency's activities are focused in three areas:
1. Saving Lives:
Catholic Relief Services is working with Caritas Turkey to provide emergency shelter and food to victims of both the August and November earthquakes. The agency has contributed $250,000 to Caritas Turkey to help them establish four tent camps in Adapazari, provide psycho-social activities to children, and implement a food coupon system.
The agency has provided 19,000 beds donated by the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) as well as assorted medical and hygienic supplies, which were distributed to families in camps by Caritas Turkey, El Hilal (a Macedonian Muslim organization) and the Turkish Red Crescent.
With $641,000 donated from Catholic Relief Services, the International Blue Crescent, a Turkish non-governmental organization is preparing two hot meals a day for 2,000 people left homeless by the November 12 quake. Feedings will continue through March 2000, at which time the people will be transferred to more permanent shelters. Additionally, some of this donation will be used to supply 5,000 gas heaters to 5,000 families. These families, living in tents in Duzce, include young children or elderly members. This collaborative intervention between Catholic Relief Services and the International Blue Crescent will help keep earthquake victims warm during the cold winter.
2. Longer term Assistance:
The agency, in coordination with Caritas Turkey is contemplating the building of more permanent housing for people currently in tent camps. Additional assistance offered will include job counseling and health care. The objective in this second phase is to help rebuild a sense of normalcy for the victims of the quake by providing them with better housing and social services.
3. Rebuilding Civil Society:
Catholic Relief Services is developing projects with the International Blue Crescent to rebuild schools in Golcuk and Karamursel, and is discussing support to Sakarya University in Adapazari to build housing for students left homeless by the August temblor - the first earthquake to strike the region in 1999. Catholic Relief Services feels that rebuilding the education sector is a critical component for the formation of a strong civil society in Turkey.