On 23 October 2011, Turkey was a struck by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, affecting 650,000 people. In total, 644 people died and a further 2,500 were injured or hospitalised. Since October, the British Red Cross Turkey Earthquake Appeal has raised over £190,000 to help survivors. The appeal has now closed, but donations will continue to help the Turkish Red Crescent support survivors.
Without home but not without hope
Following the earthquake, more than 25,750 homes collapsed or were irreparably damaged, leaving many people homeless and facing freezing conditions in the mountainous area where the quake occurred.
The Turkish Red Crescent already had a stock of Mevlana houses – prefabricated tents for four or five people, which can withstand winter conditions. These are being used to shelter people in Van, Erciş and Özalp after the earthquake.
Mevlana houses and tents provided by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are now providing shelter for over 285,000 people. By 26 December 2011, we had dispatched more than 53,000 tents, 150,000 blankets and 23,000 sleeping bags to the affected area.
The Turkish Red Crescent is one of the largest and best-equipped disaster response organisations in Europe. It has made 232 Red Crescent staff and volunteers available to respond to the earthquake, and deployed a total of 50 vehicles for transporting relief items. The Turkish Red Crescent is working to provide improved living conditions for 6,600 people living in transitional shelters. It is in the process of delivering 2,000 container houses – complete with a kitchen, shower, toilet, electricity installations and improved sanitation facilities – to the affected area.
It has also been providing psycho-social support in these communities by:
- running painting workshops and organising games for children
- giving talks for young people on the psychological effects of disasters - training women on how to take care of their children in the aftermath of a disaster.