On October 30 2020, the western province of İzmir, Turkey was hit by a 6.6-7.0 earthquake that primarily damaged Izmir city. The earthquake was followed by a tsunami which damaged coastal areas and towns of the province and was felt in provinces as far as Muğla and Manisa. It was followed by over 1,400 aftershocks with 43 of them being over a magnitude of 4.0 geologists expect these aftershocks to continue for several weeks.
More than 100 people have died while over 1,000 have been injured. Hundreds of people have been left homeless and face prolonged displacement over the coming winter months as their homes and buildings have been damaged by the initial earthquake or the subsequent aftershocks. Businesses, hospitals, and municipality buildings have also been damaged and will require renovation to ensure that services can be safely provided to people in the future. This situation is exacerbated by the COVID- 19 crises, which threatens to rapidly increase among Izmir communities, as people seek shelter in crowded areas and with families and friends.
More than 86 encampments have been established to host displaced people, with the response being led and coordinated by AFAD, Izmir Municipalities, and NGOs. While the response is comprehensive isolated groups such as affected refugee communities are at risk of exclusion to aid for a variety of reasons such reluctance to leave their damaged homes or language barriers.
Dünya Doktorları (Doctors of the World- Medecins du Monde) is on the ground providing health services such as psychological support services and Covid-19 kits. Based on staff observations, and needs assessments, the following gaps in services are highlighted:
- Aid and services in the larger encampments are being provided to the detriment of the small camps, which are reporting more needs.
- More hygiene kits including COVID – 19 PPEs (masks and child-masks) and disinfections are needed.
- More mobile lavatories and showers.
- Psychosocial support, for residents of all ages as well as refugee communities.
- Mobile psychosocial support to reach those staying in smaller encampments or suburbs.
- Awareness raising on available support mechanisms in response to the earthquake, particularly targeting isolated groups such as refugees.