Turkey: Earthquake in Bingol Province Appeal No. 09/2003 Operations Update No. 1


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Appeal No. 09/2003; launched on 2 May 2003 for CHF 2,384,000 (USD 1,770,079 or EUR 1,579,296) for 6 months for 36,000 beneficiaries

Operations Update No. 1; Period covered: 1-6 May 2003;


Appeal coverage: 0%; discussions are underway with a number of donors who have expressed interest in this operation. The updated list of contributions will be made available with the next Operations Update, but is also available on the Federation's website for this appeal.

Related Appeals: 2003 Annual Appeal for Turkey (no. 01.80/2003)

Outstanding needs: CHF 2,384,000

Summary: The initial emergency response activities in the earthquake area have been carried out on a timely and effective basis and the most immediate needs of the population were covered. The TRCS was quick to respond to the tremor, rushing in relief materials - tents and blankets, five tonnes of food, nine mobile kitchens, a field hospital and a mobile clinic, four ambulances and five generators to the quake zone. Meanwhile, coordination forms an important aspect of this operation, and regular meetings have been held with UN agencies and government authorities to ensure effective and efficient support to victims of the disaster. An example of this The Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) is a member of the Crisis Centre established at the Provincial Governor's office shortly after the disaster struck the area. Donors are encouraged to provide timely and adequate support for this operation to enable the appeal objectives and activities to be implemented as planned.

Operational Developments

Last week's powerful earthquake in the eastern Turkish city of Bingol left 177 people dead and over 520 injured. The earthquake was much localised disaster with an affected population of less than 100,000 people -70,000 in the town of Bingol and some 10,000 to 20,000 in the surrounding areas. According to the Kandili seismic institute in Istanbul, the quake lasting 17 seconds, measured 6.4 on the Richter Scale and occurred at 03:27 am local time while most residents were asleep.

The earthquake affected the City of Bingol and the surrounding villages, causing significant loss of life and property damage. According to the preliminary damage assessment in the housing sector, of 15,000 dwelling units in Bingol town, 305 houses collapsed completely, about 2,566 are classified as moderately damaged and inhabitable, while another 2,546 as slightly damaged but habitable. In the rural areas, about 45 villages have been assessed until now and a total of 3,000 houses are reported as damaged and inhabitable. The final figure will probably be higher as assessment is still ongoing.

Education was one of the first victims of the devastating earthquake. More than 90 per cents of the schools in the area were impacted by the quake leaving thousands without facilities to continue education. According to the ministry of education, 31,493 students have been affected by this quake. Of the 27 schools in the city, four had collapsed, nine would need to be torn down, 11 received light damage and three remained unscathed. Additional 75 schools in the surrounding villages have yet to be fully assessed.

Search and rescue operations, carried out by civil defence teams, specialised military units and the Turkish Red Crescent have ended. According to the latest figures reported, 114 school children and teachers at the Celtiksuyu Primary Boarding School in a village 14 km from downtown Bingol, where the greatest death tolls occurred, have been rescued alive and 84 dead bodies have been retrieved out of rubble. The school was a five story structure, which collapsed within seconds when the quake struck. A total of 198 children and teachers had been in the building at the time of the earthquake. Demolition of the rubble has started.

Three hospitals in Bingol were damaged which prompted an evacuation of severely injured patients to other cities. For the moment, services are carried out in tent-based OPDs including laboratory services and container-based OT facilities. The existing referral system is efficient and functioning and patients can be transferred to hospitals in the surrounding towns without delay. German Red Cross carried out an assessment in the disaster affected area to determine the necessity of the medical needs. According to the assessment results, disaster related health needs had been adequately met. The existing health facilities in the region provide effective support to the target population. The outbreak of disaster related health epidemics is not expected.

The economic impact of the disaster is of significant magnitude considering, that even though compulsory since 2001, the number of households with insurance coverage for natural disasters is very low - national average below 12 per cent. This rate is much lower in the villages.

Communication line and electricity across the region have now been restored and are now functioning at full capacity. There are no major damages on the water and sewage systems. An increased turbidity of the water was reported at the Government Hospital but several microbiological analysis revealed a safe situation.

A number of aftershocks and moderate tremors have occurred which has provoked panic and concern among the local population. People are currently living in tents outside their homes, although some are either lightly damaged or in relatively good condition. As the frequency and intensity of the aftershocks decreases, people are slowly returning to their homes. Fortunately the current mild weather prevented additional problems in this area known for very harsh winter weather conditions.


Coordination is an important aspect of this operation. Regular meetings have been held with UN agencies and government authorities to ensure effective and efficient support to victims of the disaster. The Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) is a member of the Crisis Centre established at the Provincial Governor's office shortly after the disaster struck the area.

The nature of the operation and number of beneficiaries are coordinated with other humanitarian actors. The Federation appeal in response to the earthquake in Bingol was presented to the UN agencies working in Turkey. The TRCS response plan has been also shared at the donors' meeting organised by the UN in Ankara. The findings of the German Red Cross assessment were presented to the participants too.

The TRCS and UNICEF are negotiating the use of 100 school tents with a capacity of four classes each. The American Red Cross intends to provide 14,000 kitchen utensils to the TRCS for the distribution to disaster affected families. Psycho-social support is provided in close cooperation and coordination with the UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, which has also deployed medical teams in the disaster affected area.

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