Turkey: Details of MSF activities during the earthquake

MSF is still active in Turkey, assisting wih humanitarian care in the wake of the 7.4 level earthquake that devastated northwestern Turkey and killed over 15,500 people. Approximately ten international staff remain in the country (down from 15) and MSF is working with the Turkish NGO, TOSAV. MSF activities are decreasing as local official and non-official activities are taking over.
MSF activities, past and present, include:

  • Setting up ten water bladders, each of which is capable of providing water for capacity of 1,500 people. There are three bladders in Izmit, three in Adapazari (which will be handed over to the Austrian Red Cross), and four in Golcuk. The complete handover is expected to take place by September 20, 1999.
  • Setting up and staffing five medical dispensaries. These dispensaries provide basic consultation, referral services, injection services, medicines and wound dressings. There are two in Izmit and three in Golcuk. Total consultations for all dispensaries were averaging maximum 600-700 per day.
  • Distributing plastic sheeting for 6,000 families: additional shelter for 4,000 families in Golcuk and 2,000 families in Izmit.
  • Rotating several teams of international nephrology specialists along with five dialysis machines to Marmara University Hospital in Istanbul. Another team was sent to Bursa for assistance in dialysis treatment there. A total of 25 ex-pats, were on location during the initial one and a half weeks.
  • Running a health education programme in Golcuk - with the intention that it be a standard to be copied by local volunteer groups in different camps. There has already been collaboration with a local organisation called Contemporary Life Foundation in Gozlemetepe.
  • MSF shipment of hygienic materials for field distribution
  • MSF shipment of medical supplies from Azerbaijan for field treatment.
  • MSF is planning interventions in the field of psychological assistance to earthquake survivors in an effort to prevent cases of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).


The dispensaries are gradually closing down due to declining consultations and because the Ministry of Health is opening healthposts nearby.

IZMIT (Izmit 1)

This dispensary was set up in an old military park area in urban Izmit. It had a target population of 10,000 people who live in a series of impromptu camps in the immediate area. This has been the busiest dispensary, with an average of 300 consultations per day in the beginning. There are three doctors, three nurses, four registrars, six community health workers, and four tents.

DERINCE (Izmit 2)

On 27 August MSF set up a dispensary in Derince and started consultations on 28 August. There were four tents, one doctor and two nurses. The target population was the inhabitants of the extremely large camp surrounding the dispensary. This dispensary was closed on Sept 13.


MSF set up a bladder and a dispensary in this camp with a 3,000 person capacity. The dispensary had six tents, one doctor, and two nurses. The average was 100 consultations per day. Installation of five pit latrines. Local parties agreed to use these latrines as an example in other locales. Oxfam will give additional 30 slabs. The dispensary was closed on Sept 14 due to the danger presented by a collapsing building nearby.


MSF set up a bladder and a dispensary in this area which is surrounded by smaller tent camps and an urban neighborhood. Initilly the dispensary handled approximately 60-70 consultations per day. It has one doctor, two nurses, and four tents.

YENIKOY (Golcuk 3)

This dispensary was started by French medical students and was then turned over to MSF. It is situated in a primary school in semi-rural Yenikoy, which had a population of 6,000 before the quake and suffered 400 deaths. In the beginning, the dispensary has been averaging 80-100 consultations per day.