Turkey: Distribution of Relief Supplies Begins

Debris from a collapsed house covers the roadside in an earthquake-affected area of Van Province.

On October 23rd, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck Eastern Turkey. AAR JAPAN’s emergency relief team arrived in the affected area on October 26th and as of November 1st began distributing relief supplies in the village of Dibekdüzü in Van Province. Miyuki KONNAI from the emergency relief team reports.

Evacuees Living Under Close to Freezing Temperatures

While a great deal of media attention has been given to supplies reaching the Erciş district, there are still many hard-hit villages in Van Province that relief supplies have yet to reach. According to Van’s disaster response headquarters, 87 out of 92 villages in the region reported cracks or other partial damage to houses, while in the village of Mollakasim, once home to 160 people living in 53 households, every house was destroyed.
Although the Red Crescent has provided tents as temporary shelters, survivors have only blankets to spread on the ground to defend themselves against the cold, while temperatures drop close to freezing during the night and early morning.

“I Lost my 4-Month-Old Sister”

Miyuki KONNAI of AAR JAPAN’s emergency relief team (left) listens to a villager’s story

AAR JAPAN will deliver aid to hard-hit villages that are still not being reached by relief supplies: Dibekdüzü, (301 people in 51 households), Yeshilsu (743 people in 247 households), and Göllü (336 people in 64 households). Items supplied to each household include 10kg of rice, 2kg of cooking oil, and 1kg of chicken as requested by the villages, in addition to 750g of sugar, 2.5kg of beans, 1kg of macaroni, 1 can of tomatoes, 1.5kg of salt, 500g of tea leaves, a box of biscuits, 3 packs of women’s sanitary products, 1kg of soap, underwear (2 sets each for men and women, 4 sets for children), and 2 towels.
Ms. Hicret KARTAL (17 years old), from a family of 9, comes from a village where 18 people were killed and 14 injured as a result of the earthquake. Her own house collapsed, and she lost her 4-month-old sister, who was sleeping in a cradle. Her mother suffered injuries to her head and back and has been hospitalized in Ankara. “I miss my mother,” she said.

Their hands rough and dry from the cold, these children still offer waves and smiles.
Local men operated soup kitchens in Dibekdüzü, serving rice and soup to young children. When the children saw us, they approached with smiles, saying “Hello, hello.” However, their hands looked rough and dry, while their chapped lips were smudged with blood.

AAR JAPAN is committed to continuing its efforts to assist the earthquake victims in Turkey.

* This project was made possible thanks to a grant from Japan Platform, in addition to generous individual donations.

Miyuki KONNAI, AAR JAPAN Programme Coordinator
Joined AAR JAPAN’s Tokyo office in October, 2011. Developed an interest in Turkey, a country bridging the East and West, as a university student, and continued studies at the graduate level. Investigated topics such as immigration and the nation’s application to the EU, and conducted field research in Turkey and northern Cyprus. Joined AAR JAPAN after spending 5.5 years as a newspaper reporter. (Born in Fukushima Prefecture)