European Union continues its support to heal the wounds of the earthquake disaster

News and Press Release
Originally published
State Minister Faruk BAL and Oskar BENEDIKT, Economic Counsellor of the European Commission Representation to Turkey, stated at a press conference held in the premises of the Prime Ministry that the EU will continue to provide financial assistance to the Marmara Earthquake region. The ECHO representative Christian DALMAIS briefed the press on ECHO activities in the region and said that ECHO has successfully completed its operations of a total amount of Euro 30 million in humanitarian aid.
The European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO), providing immediate relief after the August 1999 Marmara Earthquake, has successfully completed its operations as of April 2001. ECHO, which undertakes short-term humanitarian aid activities in emergencies, has provided 30 mio Euro as grant aid through a total of 32 projects.

In the aftermath of the Marmara Earthquake ECHO not only swiftly and efficiently supplied all kind of relief aid materials but also provided technical assistance in disaster preparedness and seismic risk reduction initiative in the Marmara Sea and Istanbul regions, an emergency and post emergency primary health care assistance and post trauma counselling, an aid to the disabled and was involved in the restoration and construction of schools and hospitals, provided, through European NGOs or Institutionalised agencies,

The focus of the EU has now moved from emergency relief to medium-term recovery. In this context, the European Commission has signed a new Programme with the Turkish Government to support medium-term rehabilitation efforts to be carried out in the disaster-hit region.

The Euro 20 million Earthquake Rehabilitation Programme is a non-reimbursable aid designed to develop an institutional framework that will help to improve the living conditions in the region, support economic growth and development, and increase disaster preparedness over a three-year period.

The Programme is designed as an integral part of the Government's Framework Programme for the reduction of negative social effects and for the reconstruction of local capacities. It will be implemented by a Project Implementation unit under the responsibility of the Prime Ministry.

Through this Programme, the EC will support partnerships between local authorities in the earthquake region and in the European Union and will conduct pilot operations for the socio-economic rehabilitation of marginalized groups.

Overall objective

To help restore the living conditions in the region of Turkey affected by the August 17,1999 Marmara earthquake, support economic recovery and resumption of growth, and to develop an institutional framework for disaster risk management and mitigation.

1.2. Specific Objectives

Rehabilitation and strengthening of local capabilities for planning, regulating and implementing disaster resistant development in the Marmara earthquake area through twinning partnerships between EU and Turkish municipalities

Providing support to the victims through renovating and upgrading damaged facilities for training and psycho-social rehabilitation services in order to promote social and psychological recovery of earthquake victims.

1.3. Activities and expected results: The Programme has two components:

I. Restoration of institutional capacities of local authorities .

II. Social and economic rehabilitation in the earthquake region for the marginalised sections of the society .

I) Restoration of institutional capacities of local authorities (15.05 meuro): This component will finance the design and implementation of a restructured emergency management and response system through institutional strengthening activities at the municipal level for disaster prevention, mitigation, planning and public awareness. A call for proposals will be launched among Turkish and European municipalities for the forming of twinning arrangements. The proposals will have to correspond to pre-established priorities. The priorities comprise a number of restoration activities as listed below:

  • Establishment of local training capacity to handle post-traumatic effects
  • Fire brigades rehabilitation and upgrading in municipalities
  • Training of municipal engineering departments in land use and enforcement of building codes
  • Strengthening and upgrading the soil investigation capabilities of the municipalities
  • Public awareness campaigns for the general public.
  • Other actions for local capacity building
In general, this component will result in upgrading the capabilities of the municipalities in the Marmara earthquake region through twinning partnerships. It will provide support for municipal exchanges and joint projects with municipalities in the EU, building on experience within the EU, and will foster transnational dialogue between local communities.

II) Social and economic rehabilitation in the earthquake region for marginalised groups of the society (3.95 mill euro): In order to mobilize social protection mechanisms to help vulnerable groups recover from the impact of the disaster and return to productive lives as soon as possible. Activities for component 2 will pursue:

  • Physical renovation and upgrading of two facilities damaged by the earthquake
  • Training of trainers
  • Training, rehabilitation and social activities for the marginalized groups
  • These activities will help the earthquake victims to find their way back into a normal and productive life