Turkey - Earthquake Fact Sheet # 6


Background: On August 17 at 3:02 a.m. local time, an earthquake lasting 45 seconds and reported to be between 7.4 and 7.8 on the Richter scale, hit Izmit, Turkey, approximately 55 miles east-southeast of Istanbul. Major affected areas include various districts of Istanbul and provinces of Izmit (Kocaeli), Adapazari (Sakarya), Yalova, Bursa, Eskishir, and Bolu to east and southeast of Istanbul. The Government of Turkey (GOT) also reports that Turkey's main navel base at Golcuk was hard-hit. Geophysicists at the U.S. National Earthquake Information Center described the quake as one of the most powerful recorded in the 20th century, nearly rivaling the 7.9- magnitude temblor that devastated San Francisco in 1906. It was felt as far east as Ankara, 200 miles away, and across parts of the Balkans.

Numbers Affected:

Latest CNN reports confirm nearly 10,000 deaths and 34,000 injured persons.

Approximately one million people are now camped outdoors for fear of more destruction. Smashed sewage lines and the number of homeless living on garbage-strewn streets without portable toilets or fresh water is compounding the risk of cholera or other infectious diseases spreading.

Current Situation:

USAID/OFDA Search and Rescue Team 1 (Fairfax County) has rescued a total of four people alive from collapsed buildings in Izmit. The team reports that 11 rescues have been made in the sector in which the team is working, including recent rescues by the Swiss and Hungarian teams. However, even with the assistance of a thousand professional rescue workers from around the world, many earthquake victims will not be reached and will die of injuries, or thirst and exposure. The Turkish military seconded a liaison officer and a military contingent to USAID/OFDA Team 1 to assist with search and rescue operations. U.S. Ambassador Parris and Turkish President Demirel visited the team on 19 August.

At local time this morning, firefighters brought the blaze at the Tupras oil refinery under control.

Storage, identification and burial of the victims are fast becoming a major problem, as makeshift morgues in skating rinks, fishermen's warehouses and refrigerated trucks are filled to capacity.

The situation is further aggravated by a lack of water and sanitation in many places and by daytime high temperatures of 95 degress Fahrenheit. Turkish health officials are working to establish a hygienic environment to prevent contagious diseases. Five teams have been sent to different parts of the quake-hit zone to collect garbage, put chlorine into water reservoirs, and pick up dead bodies. Vomiting and diarrhea began showing up last night in Adapazari, especially among children and the elderly.

The USAID/DART reports that local and international medical staff appear to be meeting medical needs in Izmit.

The USAID/DART visited the Izmit crisis center to try to determine relief effort coordination. The DART found that the crisis center staff had been overwhelmed by requests for assistance from local residents and had abandoned efforts to track the requests.

The electicity distribution systems in Izmit (Kocaeli) and Adapazari (Sakarya) are reported to be working in a fragmentary fashion. However, distribution is limited to hospitals, bakeries, main arteries, and the water pumps at the Tupras refinery; there is no distribution to homes.

U.S. Government Response:

The U.S. Government has responded with the immediate deployment of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) composed of four persons and a USAID-supported 70-person search and rescue team from Fairfax County Fire Department. The DART/Fairfax County Search and Rescue team deployed to Izmit on the night of 18 August and established a base of operations in the Yavuz Sultan Maii neighborhood in the southeast quadrant of Izmit. Search and rescue operations began on the morning of 19 August, local time.

At 11:00 EDT on 19 August, USAID/OFDA ordered the deployment of a second 70-person search and rescue team. Miami Metro Dade has fielded a team, which is due in country at 09:30 local time on 21 August.

USAID also seconded an eight-person team to assist the On-Site Operations Coordination Center (OSOCC) established by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (UNOCHA). USAID/OFDA's assistance to the OSOCC includes search and rescue management personnel, an information officer, and a mapping expert.

The USAID plane carrying emergency medical supplies and USAID/BHR Assistant Administrator Hugh Parmer arrived at 05:45 local time on 21 August.

In addition to staff already deployed, two epidemiologists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and a water/sanitation specialist were deployed on 19 August and will arrive shortly to assess emergency health and water/sanitation needs.

A second USAID/OFDA-funded airlift carrying reverse osmosis water purification units, capable of assisting 28,000 persons, also is scheduled to arrive in Istanbul in the coming days.

Three U.S. warships carrying 2,100 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit departed Spain on 19 August. The USS Kearsarge and USS Gunston Hall are expected to arrive on 22 August; the USS Ponce is due on 23 August. The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group has 60 hospital beds, six operating rooms and five x-ray rooms. Its personnel comprise eight doctors, three dentists and 88 medical corpsmen.

The U.S. Department of Defense deployed a 22-member crisis response medical team and a three-member team of medical disaster assessment experts, both of which arrived in county on 19 August.

On 19 August, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it will be sending aerial firefighting equipment and 30,000 tents to help victims of Tuesday's massive earthquake. In addition, a humanitarian assistance survey team is being deployed by the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. More than 100,000 humanitarian daily rations, stored in Europe because of the Kosovo crisis, will also be made available to Turkey if needed

Estimated USAID/OFDA Assistance to-date:

Turkish Red Crescent for relief assistance
Deployment of search and rescue team from Fairfax County
VA $1,000,000
Embassy administrative support costs
Relief items: medical supplies, 30,000 blankets, 500 roles of plastic sheeting
Transport of relief items
Water purification unit
Deployment of search and rescue team from Miami Metro Dade
Total USAID/OFDA Assistance

Relief Efforts:

The Turkish Coordination Council for Relief, operating under the leadership of the Prime Minister, is overseeing all relief operations in the affected region being carried out by national forces, Turkish Red Crescent, and volunteers.

Turkish authorities have requested the following relief supplies: 5,000 body bags, heavy gloves and masks for clearing rubble, parabolic microphones, blankets, medicine and first-aid material, soup kitchens and food, range water, and water purification systems.

UNOCHA has activated its Disaster Response System, which includes establishing the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team and an On-Site Operations Coordination Center (OSOCC). In collaboration with Turkish authorities, UNDAC has established a reception center at the Istanbul airport to facilitate the movement of arriving relief items.

As of 1000 EDT 19 August, search and rescue teams from 21 countries are assisting the relief effort.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has launched a preliminary appeal for 10.52 million Swiss francs (approximately US$7.1 million) to assist 100,000 victims of the earthquake. Funds will be used to support the Turkish Red Crescent relief operation and to purchase locally relief items such as food, water, blankets, and tents.

According to CNN, the Red Cross will bring in 600 tons of food during the next few days.


The online version of this document contains a map showing the affected areas.

Past Factsheets can be obtained from the USAID web site at:http://www.info.usaid.gov/hum_response/ofda/situation.html