Turkey: Eathquake Situation Report No. 23

Appeal no. 19/99 - period covered: 22 - 28 October 1999
A comprehensive Red Cross Red Crescent plan to upgrade water and sanitation facilities in for 56,000 homeless people in 25 tent cities is underway. The procurement process for 11,664 mt of food commodities is underway, intended to provide daily meals for 100,000 people living in tent cities for six months. An International Federation and Turkish Red Crescent review of all outstanding relief goods listed in the International Federation's appeal is nearing completion, determining which items and quantities are needed, based on the present conditions of earthquake victims living in tent cities.

The context

On 17 August at 03h02 local time a massive earthquake measuring between 7.4 and 7.8 on the Richter scale and lasting 45 seconds hit north-western Turkey. Hundreds of aftershocks have since been reported, some exceeding five on the Richter scale. Izmit, an industrial city of one million in western Turkey, was nearest the epicentre. But the force of the tremor was felt as far away as Ankara, the capital, some 500 km to the ast, and across parts of the Balkans.

Geophysicists described the quake as one of the most powerful this century, nearly rivalling the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that devastated San Francisco in 1906. On the day of the disaster, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and requested international assistance. The International Federation immediately launched a preliminary appeal, followed by a full appeal for CHF 65 million on 8 September 1999.

The official death toll from the quake is 17,127, and the number of reported injured stands at 43,953, as reported by the Prime Minister's Crisis Centre. Government damage assessments found 214,000 homes and 30,500 businesses damaged, of which 66,400 homes and 10,900 businesses had collapsed during the quake and subsequent aftershocks.


According to local media reports, housing rents in the earthquake region have risen by as much as five times since the government started to pay the quake victims a monthly rent allowance of TL100 million (CHF 320). Undamaged apartments are being rented for TL300 million (CHF 960). The rising rents may affect the ability of many tent city residents to find other housing for the coming winter.

International Federation field liaison delegates, en route from Istanbul to the affected area, have seen new pre-fabricated home sites being rapidly constructed. The government is rushing to meet its self-imposed deadline to complete 32,000 pre-fabricated homes by the end of November. According to the Sakarya deputy governor in charge the crisis, 10,000 homes are planned for the Adapazari area. Local TV channels are featuring opening ceremonies for new home sites and the families moving into them.

The Turkish parliament has opened an investigation into the Turkish Red Crescent's overall response to the earthquake. A commission will investigate whether the Society made the best use of its resources and took the necessary precautions to prepare for a natural disaster.

Red Cross/Red Crescent action

Turkish Red Crescent Society

To date, the Turkish Red Crescent Society (TRCS) has distributed 67,776 tents, 156,000 blankets, 10,000 sleeping bags to earthquake victims; some 22,000 gas heater-stoves (of a total 55,000 being purchased) have also been distributed. There are 449 TRCS staff and 270 volunteers providing aid to 39,470 inhabitants in the 18 tent cities managed by TRCS. A further 97,830 people in 69 tent cities and other areas are receiving hot meals and other services from the Society.

In addition to some 15,500 winter tents being purchased by the International Federation through the appeal, the TRCS has arranged to purchase 8,000 winter tents from Pakistan.


An engineering consultant is arriving in Turkey this weekend, to advise the International Federation on its proposals for rehabilitation support to hospitals damaged by the earthquake. Initially, he will focus on planned extensions to the Izmit State and Kocaeli University hospitals, his report, including assessments and recommendations is due for completion in mid November.

A Swiss-based, Turkish-speaking psycho-social programme (PSP) consultant, begins a two-week mission to Turkey next week charged with determining the extent to which the International Federation should support various types of PSP initiatives - not only current needs but also improvements in disaster preparedness activities specific to PSP. In particular, she will explore the best means of encouraging direct participation by the TRCS in Red Cross Red Crescent PSP endeavours. She will also work closely with the Turkish Psychological Society in the preparation of an implementation plan for key PSP tasks, including the development of training modules and materials and identifying dissemination strategies and target audiences.

Relief and logistics

The plans for the procurement of 11,664 mt of food commodities, budgeted at CHF 6.2 million, are complete and vendors located in Turkey have been identified. The programme is intended to provide daily meals for six months to 100,000 people living in tent cities managed by the TRCS. Procurement will begin following verification of the tender process and the formal agreement of the TRCS to the project proposal. Under the plan of action, the International Federation will be responsible for the procurement of 11 commodities following a standardised system, and the TRCS will carry out the distribution and rationing of food. A donor has been identified for at least part of the budget. If the proposal goes ahead, it will be reflected in a revised plan and budget for the operation as whole, currently being prepared.

The delegation's contracts committee, which includes a representative from the TRCS, has also concluded a review of all outstanding relief goods listed in the International Federation appeal and, subject to final confirmation, determined which items and quantities are needed based on the present conditions of earthquake victims living in tent cities. The local procurement of certain items will start next week.

The following table reflects the receipt and dispatch of relief items in response to the International Federation's appeal, since the Samandira Warehouse was leased earlier this month and standard Red Cross Red Crescent logistics systems instituted:


Quality-control problems with the early deliveries of winterised tents purchased through the appeal are
being addressed rapidly and an order for 1,500 locally procured items is being placed to cover the
shortfall while the pipeline returns to full production.

International Federation delegation

A team of 17 expatriate delegates covering management, finance, health, information, logistics, relief, ECHO/operational reporting, telecommunications and water-sanitation is currently based in Istanbul. Discussions are underway with the TRCS leadership on establishing a functional International Federation presence in Ankara, close-by the Society's headquarters, to facilitate cooperation and communication.

Water and Sanitation

The International Federation's water and sanitation team has begun implementing a comprehensive plan to upgrade the water supply and sanitary facilities for 56,000 people living in 25 tent cities. The team is International Federation field liaison and health delegates. The project is funded by the American and Canadian Red Cross Societies. Shower and toilet containers donated by the German Red Cross and the Danish government have already arrived; installation of the equipment is underway.

Meanwhile local manufacturers of containers, tanks, pipes, fittings and taps have been identified. The plan includes follow up to the Austrian Red Cross emergency response unit's establishment and training of local staff for the water system at Adapazari's largest tent city. As the camp population moves into alternative housing and tent cities close, all water and sanitation materials will be donated to the TRCS disaster preparedness stock.

An on-going assessment has already identified needs for the following equipment in 15 tent cities:

Quantity needed
Toilet containers
Shower containers
Washing machines
Tents for storage
Garbage containers
Water tanks
Septic tanks
Tap stands
Pipe (metres)
Water heaters
Alum.sulphate (kg)
Chlorine (kg)
Spray kits

Participating National Societies

American Red Cross: A senior official from the American Red Cross international department has been in Turkey this week, reviewing the operation to date and also holding discussions with TRCS officials in Ankara and the disaster zone and the International Federation delegation.

French Red Cross: The society's representative and co-ordinator have begun the implementation of a programme of medical, social assistance and direct relief for those earthquake victims who have set up makeshift shelters near their damaged homes. Earlier this week, 200 children came to the French Red Cross warehouse in Akyazi and each received a jacket, sweatshirt and school supplies. Under the planned programme, a mobile team with four Turkish members (doctor, psychologist, nurse and social assistant), together with a French Red Cross logistician, will be based in Akyazi in Sakarya province, and operate throughout the affected area providing medical care and counselling. A warehoused stock of blankets, cooking sets and camping gas will be available for 1,000 families. The six-month programme is intended to bring basic assistance to vulnerable families who do not qualify for much of the assistance organised by Turkish authorities. The Society is seeking ECHO funding for the ongoing programme.

Italian Red Cross: The Society's representative arrived Turkey this week to begin implementing a programme to distribute 50,000 hygiene parcels to 10,000 families over five months. The beneficiaries will be identified according to criteria set by the TRCS and the International Federation. The parcels will be assembled in Turkey and warehoused in Izmit. Each parcel will contain: washing powder, toilet paper, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, disposable razors, sanitary napkins, and bath towels.

Iraqi Red Crescent: The Society has donated US$9 million (CHF 13.7 million) direct to the Kocaeli provincial authorities to be spent on the construction of prefabricated houses and an additional US$1 million (CHF 1.5 million) to the TRCS for equipment for the prefabricated houses.

Swiss Red Cross: The Society is planning a programme with the TRCS Izmit branch centred on a camp comprising 2,000 winterised tents. The first shipment of 1,400 20-square-metre tents is due in-country shortly, together with 20 toilet and shower containers and eight office units. TRCS will manage the camp, including responsibility for its administration, maintenance and other running expenses. The programme is funded by Swiss Solidarity Chain and the Swiss government.

Outstanding needs

A revised and updated relief table will be circulated with the situation report no 24, scheduled for
publication next week.


See Annex 1 for details.

For further information please contact the following: International Federation, Geneva: Charles Eldred-Evans; tel: +41 22 730 4535; mobile: 41 79 217 3363; email: eldred@ifrc.org Logistics: Birgitte Stalder-Olsen; tel: +41 22 730 4245

Bjorn Eder
Director, Europe Department

Peter Rees-Gildea
Director, Operations Funding and Reporting Department