Turkey: Erzurum Earthquake - Information Bulletin n° 2

Situation Report
Originally published
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In Brief

This Bulletin No. 2/2004 is being issued for information only. The Federation is not seeking funding or other assistance from donors for this operation at this time.

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

  • National society: Disaster Operation Centre (AFOM): phone: 90 312 245 45 00
  • Federation delegation in Turkey: Carl Naucler, head of regional delegation , or Ervin Blau, regional programme coordinator and Kelemu Yitbarek regional disaster preparedness delegate, email: ifrctr06@ifrc.org, ifrctr36@ifrc.org or ifrctr35@ifrc.org phone: 90 312 441 42 92; fax: 90 312 441 38 66
  • Geneva: Sylvie Chevalley, regional officer, Europe department, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies , email: sylvie.chevalley@ifrc.org phone : 41 22 730 4276; fax: 41 22 733 03 95.
All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at http://www.ifrc.org

The Situation

Three days after a moderate earthquake hit the eastern province of Turkey killing nine people, another earthquake of 5.3 on the Richter scale rocked the same province on Sunday, 28 March at 06:51 local time. It caused further significant damage. There were no deaths, but several people are reported to be injured both in urban and rural areas, of whom 30 people have been hospitalized. The city injuries were largely caused by panic as people jumped from window s. The earthquake on 25 March injured another 32 people as well as killing nine. The epicenter of the earthquake yesterday was recorded 20 km north from the first earthqu ake. It was strongly felt around Askale, the epicenter, and Ilica, Cat and Erzurum. A total of 75 villages (30 during the first earthquake and another 45 during the second one) with a population of 30,000 to 35,000 have been affected.

Initial assessment indicates that as many as 500 buildings are damaged, some severely. The earthquake triggered landslides in some hilly areas. A large number of livestock, which is the main source of livelihood for people, was reported killed (approximately 60 per cent). Damage assessment continues.

Despite the disaster, local elections were held in all towns and villages on Sunday although some polling stations were not able to open until early afternoon. Erzurum Governorship Crisis Management Centre, established immediately after the earthquake, is responsible for direction and coordination of public and voluntary emergency response and relief efforts. Civil Defence units carried out search and rescue, burying dead livestock, clearing rubble, and assisting families to collect their belongings from houses. Regional military units assist in erecting tents and offer general logistics support.

Aftershocks of magnitude 3.2-4.0 continue to shake the region. The epicenter is getting closer to Erzurum city, which has a population of 180,000. Scientists fear another earthquake in the city. This adds to anxiety among the population.

Turkey is often hit by earthquakes. At least 105 people died in May last year when a powerful quake struck the south-eastern area of Bingol. Two devastating earthquakes in 1999 killed 19,000 people and caused massive destuction.

Red Cross and Red Crescent action

The Turkish Red Crescent (or Kizilay as it is called in Turkish) established operation coordination centres in Ilica and Kandili to better access the affected villages. It mobilised relief supplies, including bottled water, 4,000 tents, 8,200 blankets and kitchen utensils, from the nearby branches and the headquarters to meet the needs of the affected population. 36 relief workers, including 12 from Ankara, are currently on the site carrying out needs assessment and distributing relief items to people. To date, Kizilay distributed 2,500 tents and 5,000 blankets. It also is provid ing hot food twice a day to some 7,500 people form five points (15,000 meals a day). A health team of a doctor and two nurses is on standby to offer emergency health care if needed and refer more serious patients to the nearby hospitals.

The Red Crescent together with the Turkish Amator Radio Association, which has a country-wide network of radio repeaters, is establishing a communication network (VHF).

On the morning of 29 March 2004, the president of the Turkish Red Crescent together with the minister of public works & settlements, the minister of interior and some parliamentarians left for the earthquake area.

The response operation is within the capacity of the local government and the Turkish Red Crescent. A need for international assistance is not envisaged at this stage. Any change in this will be detailed in a later bulletin. The regional delegation of the Federation, based in Ankara, however, is closely monitoring developments. A British Red Cross delegate, based in Erzurum, is in constant contact with the Turkish Red Crescent and local government authorities.

All International Federation Operations seek to adhere to the Code of Conduct and are committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response (SPHERE Project) in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable.

For support to or for further information concerning Federation operations in this or other countries, please access the Federation website at http://www.ifrc.org

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.