UNICEF Recovery Plan for Turkish Children

Situation Analysis

On 17 August and 12 November, two earthquakes devastated the populated and industrial northwestern parts of Turkey. Although the exact number of deaths is unknown, the Turkish authorities report that over 18,000 people have been killed and 49,000 people injured during both earthquakes. Five provinces has been specifically affected, namely, Kocaeli, Sakarya, Yalova, Bolu and Duzce.

a- Shelter Analysis

Tented Camps’ Situation:

As indicted in the table below, the Turkish authorities reported that 132,750 people were sheltered in 109 tented camps in the 4 affected provinces as of 28 December 1999. In comparison to previous figures provided by the Government, the number of people living in the tents has decreased from 156,645 to 132,740. This indicates that 23,905 people have moved either into prefabricated houses, opted to spend winter at a state guest-house, or found a solution of their own. Due to the complexity of the situation, these figures are hard determine and are difficult for the Government of Turkey and the local crisis centres in the area to assess.

Total Population
Number of camps
Number of beneficiaries in camps
Number of tents
Average number of people per tent
Average number of people per camp
Percentage of people in camp/ total population

On average, almost 5% of the total population in the 5 affected provinces is sheltered in tented camps.

Of the 31,010 tents in the area 29,084 of them are inhabited by families and social workers. The number of tents allocated for social services is 39 in the entire earthquake area. The total number of the showers is 1,272, which is equivalent to 1 shower for 104 persons living in the tented camps. The total number of the latrines is 2,326, which is equivalent to 1 latrine shared by 57 persons.

b. Prefabricated Houses’ Situation:

The Government of Turkey announced that it plans to provide approximately 35,000 prefabricated houses to accommodate approximately 151,000 persons. The Turkish private sector promised to donate 12,040 prefabricated houses to shelter approximately 54,000 people.

Jointly, some 47,000 prefabricated houses are planned for construction to accommodate around 205,000 persons.

The Turkish government is well ahead of its construction target compared to the private sector, as it has already reached 72% of its target, compared to 37% for the private sector. To date, 11,560 prefabricated houses have been occupied by families, indicating that an additional 1,868 families have moved within the last two weeks of December. It is estimated that a total of 52,020 people are now sheltered in prefabricated houses in the 4 affected provinces. For each province, the following graph indicates the number of people sheltered in tented camps versus the number of people sheltered in prefabricated houses as of 27 December 1999:

With the exception of Sakarya province (Adapazari City), the population sheltered in tented camps in Kocaeli, Yalova, and Bolu provinces is higher than the population sheltered in prefabricated houses. It is foreseen that a large number of people will remain in tented camps throughout the winter.

The huge discrepancy between the tented camps and prefabricated city population in Bolu province is related to the fact that Bolu was the epicentre of the latest earthquake, dated 12 November 1999. Therefore, the allocation of prefabricated houses for this area has been more recent.

The graph below shows the current situation related to the completion of prefabricated houses and their distribution to beneficiaries. It clearly indicates a wide gap between the number of prefabricated houses completed and the number of houses handed-over to people. The graph illustrates that the construction of prefabricated houses is proceeding rapidly, as between early November and 27 December, a total of 29,882 houses were constructed. Currently the total number of the prefabricated houses handed over to people is 14,784.

Although the prefabricated houses are being completed rapidly, families are still reluctant to move to into these houses. There are several possible explanations:

  • People in tented camps are provided with three meals a day. This support is not provided for people sheltered in prefabricated cities.
  • There are no financial subsidies for people sheltered in prefabricated cities.
  • People may feel that the temporarily solution of prefabricated shelters may prevent long term solution for resettlement in concrete houses.

c- UNICEF’s response and framework of activities

In consultation with the Government of Turkey (GoT), UNICEF is currently implementing a Recovery Plan for Turkish Children (RPTC) to respond in an integrated manner to the needs of children and women affected by the earthquake. Valued at $14.2 million, the RPTC includes relief and rehabilitation interventions in the health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation and psycho-social sectors. In addition to relief interventions, UNICEF focuses on rehabilitation efforts and is actively advocating with government counterparts and humanitarian partners to ensure that all basic services are available to the affected children and mothers.

The following graph indicates the sectoral allocation of funds under the Recovery Plan :

The Recovery Plan for Turkish Children (RPTC), developed in August 1999 and conceived for a period of six months, is being implemented in all areas affected by the 17 August and 12 November Earthquakes. The international community, through 14 UNICEF National Committees and 10 Governments, has responded generously to the UNICEF Recovery Plan. This commitment has been concretized by contributions of $US 13.8 million, or 97% of the total amount required to implement the RPTC.

Activities are implemented through an integrated multi-sectoral approach which aims to provide a friendly environment for children and their mothers in tented camps and prefabricated cities, using the concept of "Child Friendly Environment" as a model. This concept is based on the provision of an integrated set of services to meet the basic needs of children and their mothers in various areas, namely the health, nutrition, education, water, sanitation, and psycho-social sectors.

UNICEF has established a strong presence in the Sea of Marmara earthquake affected area through its field base in Izmit. More than 16 staff are stationed at the Izmit base and travel continuously within the region to organize the distribution of supplies and materials, identify needs, monitor conditions and implement UNICEF programme activities.

UNICEF Activities

a. Psycho-social

Rapid assessments have shown that the psychological impact of the disaster on the population has been profound. Experiences from comparable disasters have shown that psychological problems caused by the extensive exposure to traumatic events and the high degree of losses will result in long-term psychological, educational and health problems in a significant portion of the affected populations. Such trauma may arrest the resumption of daily life activities. For example, during this reporting period, schools in Adapazari and Hendek were closed for one week (13 December - 18 December) because of fears of another earthquake. Even very limited psychological interventions, if implemented in an appropriate manner, can have a lasting positive impact on the life experience of children and adults.

Earthquake Drills in Izmit Schools

All schools in Izmit have undertaken an earthquake evacuation drill at least once. Yet in some schools, there is resistance to the practice, as some teachers expressed feelings of discomfort about participating in drills which trigger difficult memories associated with the earthquake. In general, school principals realize the value of earthquake evacuation drills and accept the importance of its practice. Teachers also indicated that they would continue to support psycho-social work in their schools.

In order to decrease the negative psycho-social after-effects of earthquakes on children and their families, UNICEF has developed 4 projects, which include: the School Project, the training of members of the Social Welfare and Child Protection Institute (SHCEK), and Awareness Raising Campaigns. The School Project is by far the most extensive.

The School Project consists of three phases and is being implemented by UNICEF and the Ministry of National Education, the first two of which have been completed. The first phase consisted of the training of 65 experts, psychologists, psychiatrists, and school counselors on debriefing techniques. During the second phase, 289 school counselors in the affected areas were debriefed and trained on debriefing techniques. In turn, the trained school counselors debriefed 8,235 teachers. UNICEF and the Ministry of National Education will sign an agreement to launch the third phase of the Project during the first week of January 2000. This third phase consists of classroom interventions to accelerate the recovery of children and their parents throughout the earthquake region.

During this reporting period, all project coordinators, with the exception of Sakarya, attended a meeting in Ankara to review the debriefing of school counselors. Project Coordinators are composed of a multi-professional group of psychologists, psychiatrists and psychological counselors who are affiliated with universities, hospitals and other governmental institutions who provide training and debriefing to school counselors on a volunteer basis. In addition to this activity, 34 counselors were trained in school-based intervention in Istanbul.

In January 2000, the Turkish Psychological Association will inaugurate a five-month evaluation of the effectiveness of the debriefing activities conducted within the Ministry of National Education School Project. This evaluation will serve to identify the role factors such as "social support systems", "belief systems", and "coping systems" of the survivors and the "degree of exposure" on trauma for further development of a preventive programme.

The promotion of a Child Friendly Environment (CFE) is the primary focus of an agreement between UNICEF and the Department of Social Services and Child Protection (SHCEK) to minimize the earthquake-related trauma experienced by children. Through this four-month project, 400 social workers have been debriefed and trained to handle child recreation in emergency situations. The table below indicates the services provided to children in selected prefabricated cities:

Child Friendly Environment Services (CFE) Provided to Children

Total # of gov. prefab cities*
Health Unit
Health Unit
Present unit
Under construction
Present unit
Under construction
Present unit
Under construction
  • Above 100 houses.

As the table above shows, many of the prefabricated cities do not have full CFE facilities within the camp.

UNICEF will target CFE interventions in camps with the largest populations to ensure that prefabricated buildings are available for creche facilities, school buildings and health units and aim to ensure that there is adequate personnel to manage activities within. Materials, in the form of furniture, carpets, toys, books, etc., will be provided by UNICEF to the creches. SHCEK is responsible for the operation of the centres, but due to a shortage of staff, SHCEK will increasingly rely on the work of volunteers within the camp, and enhance cooperation with NGO’s to organise day-to-day CFE activities.

b. Water and Sanitation

Extensive damage was suffered by the water and sewage pipeline network after the August and November earthquakes, rendering most of the existing water and sanitation services inoperable. Valued at US $5 million, UNICEF interventions in this sector aim to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in tented camps and prefab cities:

On-going Installation of Water and Sanitation Clusters

What is a Cluster? A cluster is an environmentally friendly infrastructure unit composed of:

- Ten hot water showers (5 for men in a container and 5 for women in a container)

- Twelve sanitary latrines (6 for men in a container and 6 for women in a container)

- Two 12 ton water tanks with pump and water pressure

-Two 12 ton septic tanks with a deposit system

Infrastructure provision is on-going throughout the Sea of Marmara earthquake area. Since the inauguration of water and sanitation activities in the earthquake area, 15 clusters have been installed, in addition to individual latrine, shower, water and septic tank units, for the benefit of more than 25,000 people. During the last two weeks of December 1999, 2 water and sanitation clusters were installed in Duzce in the districts of Cedidye Mahalle and Aziziye Mahalle. In addition, 4 individual latrine containers with two water tanks and 2 septic tanks, and 4 individual shower containers with two water tanks, were installed in Yalova, Bolu and Duzce provinces. The installation of individual units rather than entire clusters is necessary, due to the limited or already met need in some areas. Random site visits have also been made to monitor the water supply and water distribution project in Adapazari. UNICEF has also determined that a new latrine and shower unit provider may be appropriate for smaller tent settlements.

The location of the forthcoming installation of 20 clusters and 5 individual latrine containers in Duzce has been determined during this reporting period. The survey and identification of areas for the future installation of water and sanitation clusters has also been undertaken in Duzce during this reporting period.

Adapazari and Duzce Water Distribution Projects

Initiated on 15 October 1999, this project distributes potable water to populations who have been left without access to water following the 17 August earthquake. The provision of safe drinking water by UNICEF is allowing local water authorities to focus their efforts on the repair of municipal water networks in Adapazari. This project, encompassing 15 water tankers with a 20 ton capacity and 21 drivers, operates around-the-clock to provide water 24 hours a day to more than 100,000 people daily. This project is expected to be finalized on 16 January 2000.

Following the achievements in Adapazari, UNICEF received a request from Duzce muncipality to provide similar services for the daily provision of safe drinking water to more than 50,000 people. The Duzce Water Distribution Project has begun on 30 December and will conclude at the end of January 2000.

c. Health and Nutrition

Valued at $US 2.7 million, interventions in this sector focus on the following areas: Expanded Programme of Immunization (EPI), Nutritional Surveillance and Intervention Programme, and revitalization of Health Centres.

Expanded Programme of Immunization: This on-going programme aims to immunize 500,000 children 9 months to 15 years of age. Crowded living conditions of the homeless population in tent cities has put the unvaccinated child population at risk to communicable diseases, with particular concern for measles. UNICEF has supplied the Ministry of Health with 500,000 doses of measles vaccines and 500,000 syringes. The most recent figures on measles immunizations will be reported in the upcoming Situation Report (January 2000).

Nutritional Surveillance and Interventional Programme: The results of a nutrition study carried out by Haccetepe University, the Ministry of Health and UNICEF in October 1999, indicated a high level of malnutrition among pre-school age children in the earthquake affected areas. UNICEF and its partners are addressing nutritional problems through a combination of psycho-social interventions and more traditional nutrition interventions. For further information on the distribution of biscuits, please refer to the School Nutrition Programme under in section D.

Revitalization of Health Centres: Many Primary Health Care Centres in the region suffered due to collapsed buildings, damaged equipment, loss of medication and other infrastructure, partly depriving the earthquake population of health service support facilities. Refresher training courses for Primary Health Care Centre staff of the mental health referral system took place in Bolu and Duzce on 8 and 9 December, and was attended by 165 health workers.

d. Education

Although many schools opened since the earthquakes, the shortage of adequate school buildings, supplies and dispersion of staff have frustrated attempts to provide education to all children in the region. A return to a normal school environment is deemed of high importance in assisting children to overcome the trauma of events witnessed during and after the earthquake. Valued at US $3.9 million, interventions in this sector are aimed at providing and replenishing affected schools with educational and recreational materials, and distributing supplementary food through schools.

Schooling in Yalova and Kocaeli Provinces continues to stabilize, although over-crowding remains an acute problem. Pre-fabricated schools are beginning to be constructed, which will ease pressure on existing class size. In Yalova province, 42 of the 53 schools that existed before the earthquake are currently operating, indicating an increase of 3 schools in the province during the last two weeks.

In Bolu province, the schooling situation continues to fluctuate, as classes are initiated as tents become available for classrooms. Bolu city-centre still requires 457 tents to replace damaged classrooms. Currently, the Ministry of National Education is setting up a total of 375 tented schools in the Bolu/Duzce area, 120 of which have already been established. UNICEF will provide pallets for 300 of the tents established, 75 of which have already received them.

In Duzce, 4,855 students in their last year of education have returned to school, though parents fear that the quality of education provided in tent schools may be inadequate. The lack of tents for classrooms is delaying the return to school of other grade levels in the region.

Due to rumors of another earthquake, schools in the south of Sakarya province were officially closed by the Governor, though they have recently re-opened. The population of Sakarya continues to relocate from tent cities to pre-fabricated cities, with the total number of tent cities largely reduced. Of the ten tented cities, there are five tented schools, 4 of which are operated by the Ministry of National Education, and 1 by volunteers. One tented school is expected to return to its original location within two weeks, while the remaining schools will soon move into pre-fabricated buildings.

Supply of School Materials

As a result of the earthquake, many schools lost supplies and materials. In addition, many students lost their homes and possessions contained within. The Supply of School Materials Project aims to identify the most affected schools, and supply materials to these classes. Phase I of the Project will benefit students attending schools in tented camps. Phase II of the Project is targeted towards students attending schools in prefabricated cities.

To date, UNICEF has completed the distribution of kits in Yalova Province, supplying a total of 415 kits to all 50 schools. Follow-up visits to the area will begin during the first week of January 2000. In Kocaeli Province, the Ministry of National Education has been charged with organizing the distribution of kits, and reported that all kits have been distributed to schools.

Schools in Sakarya re-opened on 23 December, however, due to the relocation of families after the earthquake, less than 50% of the primary school population in the central area of Sakarya was in attendance. Distribution plans for the area of Sakarya will soon be finalized.

Total Kits Distributed in Kocaeli and Yalova Provinces
No. of Kits
No. of Schools
No. of Students
Educational Kits
Recreational Kits
Pre-school Kits

Under Phase II of the Supply of School Materials project, 1,563 educational kits and 543 recreational kits have been ordered for 181 pre-fabricated schools (1,563 classes). In addition, 400 kits have been ordered for the tented schools that are beginning to operate in the second earthquake area (Bolu and Duzce provinces).

School Nutrition Programme

In response to concerns for the health and well-being of children, UNICEF has begun a short-term programme to distribute high protein biscuits. The Ministry of National Education has identified the most vulnerable school populations through determining where children from the tented cities attend school (as many students must travel outside of their immediate area to attend classes) and surveying and assessing school transportation systems. The School Nutrition Programme is being undertaken in the health centres of tented cities and schools in the affected areas. To date, almost 112 tons of high protein biscuits have been have been distributed to 40,000 students in 84 schools.

No. of Schools
No. of Students
Cumulative weight
29.04 tons
76.8 tons
6.7 tons
112.54 tons

The distribution of biscuits to the schools has proved difficult on occassion, as trucks must be provided by the schools themselves to collect the biscuits. The logistics department is assessing this problem to find a way to facilitate the distribution.

Support to Teachers

In addition to supplies given to teachers immediately after the second earthquake, UNICEF has provided 15 and 150 heaters tents to teachers. These tents have been used to establish a tent camp for teachers and their families.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Accord Reached between University of Kocaeli and UNICEF

UNICEF/Ankara and the University of Kocaeli entered into an agreement on 29 December to monitor the humanitarian situation in tented camps and prefabricated cities in the earthquake area. This accord will help UNICEF assess the implementation of project activities in the education, psycho-social, health, water, sanitation sectors by collecting data from Camp Managers in the field. Under the terms of the accord, UNICEF will provide the financial means to undertake the monitoring and evaluation activities. Twenty-four data collectors, (all of whom are university students), one Team Leader and two Assistant Team Leaders will be deployed for two periods of five working days. UNICEF and the University of Kocaeli will provide training for the data collectors at UNICEF’s field base in Izmit on 3 January 2000. The first five-day phase of data collection will begin on 4 January 2000. UNICEF may extended this arrangement with the University of Kocaeli after analyzing this first experience.

Monitoring UNICEF Activities with Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

UNICEF seeks to implement a Geographic Information System to assist the monitoring of its multi-sectoral activities related to the earthquake programme. This project will help UNICEF express quantitative data visually, to provide a comprehensive overview of relief interventions. Information collected by the University of Kocaeli (see above), Government Ministries and others will be incorporated. GIS activities are envisaged to begin in early January 2000.

I. Level of Funding

As of 30 December 1999, contributions to UNICEF Recovery Plan for Turkish Children amounted to US$ 13,836,528. Only 2.5% of the total amount required has not yet been covered. US$ 6,672,021 has been received/pledged from UNICEF National Committees, and US$ 7,128,464 from Governments. The following table provides a breakdown of the funds received/pledged:

Contributions from Governments (in US$)
South Africa
Contributions from UNICEF National Committees (in US$)
Hong Kong
Grand Total