Earthquake in Turkey 1 May 2003

Situation Report
Originally published
1. Background
h An earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale shook the province of Bingol, south eastern Turkey on Thursday morning, 1 May 2003. The death toll is around 100 people and these figures are expected to rise. Rescuers pulled 55 children from the debris of the four-story school dormitory in the town of Bingol.

According to Turkish Industry Minister, Ali Coskun, as many as 140 middle- school students were still trapped in the building. Doctors at Bingol's state hospital said that more than 300 injured people had been brought to the hospital.

The earthquake was centred just outside Bingol, which lies 430 miles east of Ankara and has 250,000 inhabitants. At least 25 buildings and a bridge collapsed in the centre of Bingol. Power and telephone lines in the area have been damaged and electricity cut off. The national civil defence team is assisting on the scene and a Search and Rescue Team is leaving Istanbul soon to assist.

2. WHO action

In order to respond to this current situation, WHO-headquarters promptly provided to the WHO Liaison Office in Turkey basic technical references on public health for earthquakes so that the WHO field office is able to co-operate and communicate with the Health Ministry and other partners more easily and effectively.

These references are:

  • References in Emergency/WHO Response in Emergency
  • Technical References/WHO Hazard Profile Sheets
  • Technical References/WHO Rapid Needs Assessment SitRep Form
  • Technical References/Rapid Health Assessment
Dr Enrico Frontini, Public Health Officer, WHO, Disaster Preparedness & Response Unit -- Iraq Crisis Team who was in Turkey is already in Bingol at the earthquake zone. He is conducting the first assessment, and will probably be the first UN person to get in that zone.

WHO Regional Office for Europe, through the WHO office in Turkey, also provided to the Earthquake zone on 1 May 2003, 3 trauma emergency kits, totalling 50,000 Euro.

WHO is continuously and closely monitoring the risk of outbreaks following disasters as follows;

  • Population displacement
  • Disruption and contamination of water supply and sanitation services
  • Disruption of public health programmes
  • Ecological changes that favour breeding of vectors
  • Provision of emergency food, water and shelter in disaster situations
3. Others (International response)

The Turkish Government has requested further trauma kits through the WHO Turkey Office.

Red Crescent sent 500 tents and 3000 blankets to the affected area.

OCHA is mobilizing an UNDAC Team to be dispatched to the disaster area shortly, and UNICEF will, reportedly, arrive tomorrow.

Further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the WHO Internet Web at http://www.who.int/disasters