Turkey Appeal No. 01.57/2001 Situation Report No. 2


Capacity building through training programmes has become the central focus on the list of priorities for the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) in 2001. With the help of the International Federation and sister national societies, the TRCS has embarked on an intensive training programme including disaster preparedness and first aid training. The reconstruction of the Kandira water pipeline has been completed. Other reconstruction and rehabilitation projects are on schedule and subject to close monitoring and assessment.
Period covered: 1 March - 30 April 2001

The context

In the second half of 1999, two massive earthquakes struck northwestern Turkey, the country's most densely populated region and industrial heartland. The first occurred on 17 August 1999 and was centred on the industrial city of Izmit, leaving 17,100 people dead and a further 44,000 injured. Responding to the Turkish government's plea to the international community for immediate assistance, the International Federation launched a preliminary appeal, followed by a full appeal for CHF 65 million, on 8 September 1999. Two months later, a second major quake occurred in the Bolu/Duzce region, on 12 November 1999, the death toll reached 845 and nearly 5,000 people were injured.

An estimated 400,000 buildings either collapsed or were badly damaged by the two earthquakes. Thousands of aftershocks and moderate tremors have occurred since August 1999, not only in northwestern Turkey but also in all quake-prone regions of the country. The socio-economic impact of the 1999 earthquakes will be felt in Turkey for years to come. The disasters have left a long-term legacy, severely damaging the country's infrastructure and having a devastating effect on the lives of the affected population. Unemployment, physical disabilities and psychological trauma are among the most common problems still faced by Turkey's population.

Latest events

A series of 115 tremours, measuring between 3.0 and 4.8 on the Richter Scale, were recorded by the Kandilli Observatory in Istanbul during this reporting period. No damage or injuries were reported.

An economic crisis with far-reaching implications has been looming over Turkey since the currency was floated on 21 February 2001. The Turkish Lira was devalued by 66 % by the end of April; inflation for March was at 6.10 % and for April 10.3 %, and although unemployment figures are unavailable, there are strong signs to suggest it is on the rise. Small businesses felt the immediate brunt of the devaluation and tens of thousands rallied in Ankara (close to the Turkey delegation's offices) on April 11, demanding that the government resign over its handling of the economy. This caught the attention of the media world-wide. An IMF bailout for between US $ 10-15 billion is expected once a series of 15 laws have been passed to regulate the economy, including the regulation of the banks and the privatization of Turk Telecomm.

In the last week of March, approximately 7,000 - 8,000 Macedonian refugees were reported to have entered into Turkey at the Kapikule border. The ministry of Interior asked the TRCS to monitor the situation and provide food, medical aid and possibly shelter if required. However, most of the refugees reunited with friends and relatives within Turkey.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS)

Two new dispensaries were opened on 16 March in TRCS's Nevsehir branch in central Anatolia and on 24 March in Istanbul's Gazi Osman Pasa branch, the latter opening attended by the President of the TRCS.

The TRCS sent aid to Kosovo for Macedonian refugees who have fled during the recent clashes between Macedonian security forces and Albanian militants at the Kosovo-Macedonia border. According to reports from the TRCS, eight teams have been assigned for duty in Kosovo since last June: 117,000 refugees have been assisted with 170 tons of food, clothing and cleaning kits; and 10,400 people have received medical aid.

The TRCS's General Congress was held on 1 April, and the President was re-elected. A new Central Committee and Executive Committee was also elected. In April, the TRCS committed to the process of developing a country partnership strategy (i.e. CAS) with the International Federation and the PNSs, with the head of the training department as lead within the organisation.

The TRCS organized a meeting to commemorate its commitment to mental health on World Health Day, 7 April, at its special health professional college (former nurses school) in Istanbul. An essay competition was organized in approximately 20 high schools (15,000-20,000 students) on the psychological effects of the earthquake and the three winners of this competition shared their contributions with 200 students and teachers. The competition was organized in conjunction with the Turkish Association of Peoples Health Education Association, TRCS health and education department and the International Federation's PSP. After the meeting, a roundtable discussion moderated by a psychiatrist from the Medical faculty of the University of Istanbul, representatives of UNESCO, the German Red Cross (GRC), TRCS and the International Federation presented and discussed interventions in the field in the aftermath of the earthquake and lessons learnt.

Early in the morning of 9 April, a TRCS employee found a bomb on the premises of TRCS headquarters in Ankara. Staff immediately vacated the building while a team of explosive experts disabled the bomb. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for this incident.

The Turkish Red Crescent Society's headquarters produced a publication highlighting activities for the second half of 2000. The publication included an interview with the International Federation's head of delegation and the collaboration with the TRCS.

International Federation

Disaster Response Preparedness and Management (DRPM): The International Federation conducted two very successful one-week DPRM workshops during this reporting period in collaboration with the TRCS and the American Red Cross. The second (in a series of three DPRM workshops) was held in the Yenikoy Training Centre, 20-26 March, with 28 participants from the TRCS headquarters (14) and staff/volunteers from the branches (14). Staff and volunteers from the government's Civil Defense participated in the field exercise based on the creation of a refugee camp.

The third DPRM workshop was held in eastern Turkey, in Erzurum, 25 April - 1 May, with 36 participants from the TRCS headquarters (15), staff/volunteers from the branches (19) including branch presidents and directors, and staff of the General Directorate for Disaster Affairs (2).

Facilitators for the workshops included members of the Turkey International Federation delegation: the headquarters, DP, telecommunications, logistics, program coordinator, information and reporting delegates. Six participants from both TRCS headquarters and branches were identified as co-facilitators and will assume training roles in subsequent TRCS organized workshops.

Numerous discussions were initiated on upgrading the TRCS's tent production facilities. The NRC will support the project by sending material for the tents to the TRCS and an agreement will be reached when the NRC representative visits in May. The International Federation will support the refurbishment of the facilities and renewal of the machinery and tools for tent production.

11,000 disaster tents were donated by the ARC to the TRCS at a ceremony presided over by the President of the TRCS at Etimesgut Warehouse, outside Ankara. The two-layered, family-sized tents cover an area of 16m2 and can be used year round. With these tents the TRCS will soon reach its intermediate goal of having 42,000 tents in stock.

The ARC is exploring the possibility of extending DPRM activities to branches in Istanbul, Izmir and Adana with TRCS headquarters. It sponsored TRCS staff to Istanbul to review materials for inclusion in Community Disaster Education (CDE) materials to be published on CD. The ARC will underwrite the cost of the reproduction of the CD and distribute 10,000 copies aimed at schools in the Istanbul area.

The bulk of the equipment for the automation project supported by the German Red Cross and the American Red Cross has been delivered, with the balance scheduled for delivery next month.

Health: The GRC provided the TRCS's Izmit branch eye clinic with a special microscope for surgery, enhancing its capacity to offer a wider range of services.

The Spanish Red Cross, in conjunction with TRCS's First Aid department, have successfully completed six training of trainers (TOT) courses. Since the beginning of the year, 118 trainers from various TRCS branches and blood centres have been trained in standardized first aid and they have in turn trained 550 members of the public

The French Red Cross has completed 4 courses on first aid training: 2 in Istanbul and 2 in Scary. Three groups of teachers (1 high school and 2 primary schools) and nurses from TRCS's blood centre were trained.

The Italian Red Cross has decided to support First Aid training at branch level. The TRCS has verbally agreed to the project. The project proposal will be submitted to the TRCS and a formal agreement will be put in place in May. The IRC budget includes funding for mannequins and equipment for training on first aid. The move ofIRC's office to Ankara is expected to be completed by May.

The SRC, the FRC and the IRC are attempting to coordinate first aid training activities with the TRCS so as to avoid duplication of services. As there are 682 TRCS branches, duplication is not expected.

Education/Training: The International Federation sponsored a regional Basic Training Course, outside Istanbul, for prospective delegates, from 24 - 30 March. The 23 participants came from Armenia (3), Azerbaijan (2), Georgia (6), Turkey (11) and Yugoslavia (1). In addition to ICRC and International Federation facilitators, the Turkey delegation's head of delegation, DP, info/reporting, program coordinator delegates and the ARC head of delegation, facilitated relevant modules.

The International Federation and German Red Cross facilitated the induction course component of a weekly professional course organized by the TRCS for nurses and doctors in the TRCS blood centres.

Logistics: Logistics mapping for future procurement within Turkey continues although the process has been slow and difficult. Translation of logistics training material into Turkish is on schedule for the preparation for the logistics workshop to be held in May.

Telecommunications: Work in reference to the crisis communication system is proceeding as planned. An assessment of VHF and HF installations in TRCS warehouses and blood centres in eastern Turkey took place in April. Three blood centres (Sumsun, Trabzon, Diyabakir) and 2 warehouses (Erzurum and Adana) were visited, and it was found that installations were either of poor quality or non-existent. The next visit to the east is planned for May when the TRCS headquarters technicians will accompany the telecommunications delegate for hands-on training for VHF/HF installation and operations. The technicians will also instruct the local staff at the branches for relevance/maintenance of the crisis communication system.

VHF radio installations have taken place in 11 fixed stations and 5 vehicle stations. The fixed stations included 7 warehouses (Afyon, Erzurum, Elazig, Adana, Manisa, Edirne, Ankara) and 4 blood centres (Antalya, Diyarbakir, Trabzon, Samson). In addition, the frequency for the Turkey Amateur Society (TRAC) VHF repeater was installed into all TRCS's VHF radios in preparation for potential disaster situations.

The ARC completed the purchase order for the HF radio installations and all equipment is expected to be delivered by early June. It is expected that 14 fixed stations and 20 vehicle stations will be installed by the end of June.

A basic training course for satellite phone operation has been completed with the TRCS technicians. Course preparation is underway for courses starting from the middle of May including: English conversation; VHF programming; HF radio programming; and basic computer skills.

By the end of April, all TRCS's technicians had attended the DPRM workshop.

Water-sanitation: All components of the Kandira Water Pipeline Project were completed on 10 April. Members of the TRCS, the Turkish government, the International Federation and the Turkish water authorities attended the opening ceremony on 20 April. The event was widely covered by the national media, both print and television.

Following the departure of the water-sanitation delegate, a new delegate will be assigned for the implementation/monitoring of a new watsan project (one of three proposals) which will focus on the construction of a Water Treatment Plant to serve a population of 50,000. The quality of the water for the system coming from a river located 10 Kms from the epicentre of the Kocaeli earthquake is no longer suitable for drinking purposes due to its high turbidity (muddiness) level. The Swiss Red Cross and the Austrian Red Cross are exploring the possibility of funding the projects.

Psychosocial support programme (PSP): PSP staff in all three TRCS-International Federation centres hold regular meetings and have been provided a standardized reporting format. Statistics of people visiting the centre are as follows:

PSP Centre
(Avcilar, Istanbul)

Approximately two-thirds of the visitors either wanted counseling or were interested in psycho-social activities and asked to become volunteers for the centres.

A new round of basic training for volunteers in PSP community based programmes has started at the Amindos centre in Avcilar, Istanbul. Trainers from last year's programme will be supported by senior trainers of the Swiss NGO Appartenances and the Turkish Psychologists Association. The programe aims to build a volunteer pool for greater outreach towards affected communities.

Monthly coordination meetings held at the Yenikoy Training Centre are now chaired by the head of the TRCS's health and education department. In April's meeting , the group decided that social issues as related to activities in the field, should become an integral part of discussions.

From 26 - 27 April, the PSP coordination committee consisting of members from the TRCS's health and education department, the Turkish Psychologists Association, the governmental institution of Social Welfare and the Protection of Children and Hacettepe University's High School for Social Work, evaluated the activities of the centres in Duzce, Izmit and Avcilar. The coordination committee provides invaluable support not only with theoretical issues, but with issues such as feasibility, cultural relevance and management. Committee members were impressed with the activities carried on at three centres and suggested improvements, as well as, time management ideas. The coordination committee was founded at the beginning of the PSP with the mandate to offer professional support to TRCS when the program handed over by the International Federation in 2002. Monthly meetings have been held since February 2000.

At the request of the GRC, the TRCS and International Federation has agreed to support and link the training of two groups in Duzce: nurses in the state hospital and employees of the agricultural institute. These groups will now work with the psychologist and the social worker in Pusula who will participate in their psychological group support meetings.

The GRC have submitted a project proposal to TRCS to create a training and teaching manual for psycho-social support programmes based on their experience in the Marmara earthquakes.

Social welfare: Following an exhaustive and painstakingly transparent procedure for contractor selection in March, tenders for the construction of the community centre in Kaynasli were opened on 10 April. A contractor and an auditing company were selected. The latter will employ specialists for quality control, provide a certificate on the completion of the construction, as well as, assume liability for construction quality for 10 years after completion.

An assessment of three locations for the establishment of the third social welfare centre resulted in: the rejection of Adapazari as a possible location as the local TRCS branch did not possess the capacity to sustain future programming; the rejection of the site selected in Duzce due to the gradation of the land; and a recommendation that a centre be located in Izmit for which confirmation is awaited from TRCS headquarters.

Weekly meetings on the amalgamation of the PSP and the SWP, an initiative strongly supported by the TRCS's health and training department, continue, with the aim to respond adequately to the needs of the communities in the longer term perspective. A representative from the Canadian Red Cross and the psycho-social support advisor and social welfare advisor from the International Federation's Secretariat arrived in May to facilitate the process. The first PSP-SWP pilot centre will be implemented in Duzce within the next couple of months.

Construction: The International Federation is currently involved with 12 different construction projects throughout the earthquake-affected areas.

The renovation of the Marcalar Primary School was completed during this time period. The school services seven neighbouring communities. The Ministry of Education was involved in the design and planning for the school and oversaw its construction. In addition to the construction of new sanitary facilities, the construction has been renewed in all nine classrooms. Construction work included: new windows and doors; paint and plaster on the interior and exterior walls; the school yard was paved; and a new steel fence erected.

Work on the Derincer Primary School, located in the Izmit area, is progressing well, with the installation of theplumbing, electrical and heating system wiring and piping in place. The contractor is in the process of completing the interior and exterior walls and the project is slated for completion in July.

The contract for the construction of the Sakarya State Hospital has been awarded. The site is being prepared and awaiting the approval of the Municipality to begin construction. Delays in pre-qualifying contractors for the construction of Duzce State Hospital continue as various contractors are positioned for the tender process by authorities. This is expected to go out to tender by June.

All four of the above International Federation projects have been fully funded by the Japanese Red Cross (this support is reflected in the list of contributions under appe al 19/99).

The German Red Cross has two construction projects in the pipeline: a representative from its Berlin branch will arrive in May for further negotiations on planned construction of TRCS's Duzce branch for which a plot of land has been made available; and the construction work for the Golchuk branch building is expected to go to tender in May. Both new buildings will replace those destroyed during the Maramara earthquakes.


See Annex 1 for details

Martin Faller
Head a.i.
Europe Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Head, a.i.
Relationship Management Department

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