UMCOR Hotline 29 November 2011: Turkey, Horn of Africa
TURKEY: KEEPING WARM
The distribution of 200 UMCOR-funded heaters came like a “miracle” to earthquake survivors in the villages of Ermisler, Akcift, and 17 remote settlements outside the city of Van in Turkey, according to UMCOR’s implementing partner there, International Blue Crescent (IBC).
Families who received the heaters had lost all their belongings, including livestock and harvests, when earthquakes rocked the region on October 23 and November 9. Most are living in makeshift barracks, tents, or prefabricated compounds near their destroyed or damaged homes.
The heaters IBC distributed use commonly found raw materials, such as wood, and are safer to use than gas-tube heaters, which have caused fires. They also serve as stoves, allowing families to resolve both cooking and heating challenges as temperatures plummet.
IBC is also providing daily food packages and school supplies for 615 students in a regional school, and UMCOR is providing children in the affected villages with warm winter clothes.
HORN OF AFRICA: HUNGER CONTINUES
Millions of people continue to struggle for survival in the Horn of Africa. This drought is the worst in 60 years and is complicated by unrest in the region. Addressing this “prolonged, complex emergency” will require a lot of time and resources, said Melissa Crutchfield, who leads UMCOR’s international disaster response.
“While we are currently working to provide immediate relief to displaced persons and those with acute needs such as malnutrition, our focus moving forward will address some of the root causes of the drought and famine,” she noted. The emphasis will be on projects promoting sustainable agriculture, healthy livestock, climate-change adaptation, and disaster-risk reduction.