Turkey: We Are Continuing Distribution of Relief Supplies in Snow-Covered Disaster Areas

Winter has arrived in the eastern part of Turkey where a massive earthquake struck last October, and the disaster site is now covered in snow. Construction of temporary housing has not seen progress, and many disaster survivors are still living in tents and temporary shacks.

AAR JAPAN’s emergency relief team consisting of 3 members (Kiyoto ONISHI, Yoshifumi KAWABATA, Norihiro FUJIMOTO) has been distributing food items (flour and cooking oil) as well as daily essentials (undergarments, soap, towels, hand cream, women’s sanitary products, etc.) to each of the disaster-affected households around the city of Van. Moreover, we have added cold-resistant aluminum sheets that were generously donated by Mitani Sangyo, Inc. (Kanazawa City, Ishikawa Prefecture), which are being used as bedding and floor covering to combat the harsh cold weather in the region. From January 22nd to January 28th, we have distributed relief supplies to approximately 860 households in a total of 16 villages.

January 22nd, 2012- Kiyoto ONISHI (right) hands a bucket full of relief supplies to a father and his daughter. 

“We were able to move in to temporary housing, but life is difficult.”
We asked Reis Yilmaz (38 years old) of Esenpinar Village regarding the earthquake and his life thereafter. “I had never experienced such a large earthquake. Nothing but fear can describe what I felt. Our current temporary housing is more comfortable compared to the tent we were in immediately after the earthquake, but governmental assistance including food supplies is far from enough. We plan to use the flour we received from AAR JAPAN for baking bread. Thank you so much for coming to help us from such a far away place.” In regard to the aluminum sheets, he added, “We have never seen these sheets before, but they sure look warm!” The children wrapped themselves up in the sheets right away and smiled.

January 24th, 2012- People gathered to collect the relief supplies in spite of the heavy snow. 

January 22nd, 2012- Reis Yilmaz and his family live in temporary housing. Pictured on the right is Norihiro FUJIMOTO of AAR JAPAN.

January 22nd, 2012- The children try out the cold-resistant aluminum sheets. 

Distributed Items per Family
Food Items: flour (50kg), cooking oil (10L)
Daily Essentials: cold-resistant aluminum sheets (2), soap (700g), detergent (3kg), hand cream (100g x 2), towels (1 large, 2 small), undergarments (2 adult men, 2 adult women, 2 boys, 2 girls), women’s sanitary products (2 packets), bucket (1)

We Are Also Setting Up Huts for Baking Bread
We are also setting up bread-baking huts in the disaster-affected areas. In this region, flour-based bread called naan is eaten as staple food, and most families had ovens in their homes to bake naan. However, these ovens were lost in the earthquake. Families must now purchase bread from stores and this has become a financial burden.

In response, AAR JAPAN has been setting up huts in the villages of the disaster-affected areas, which can be shared among the villagers to bake bread. Huts that are assembled in Van City are transported to each village and then placed where they can be easily accessed by all of the villagers. Bread can be baked using the furnace that is inserted underground beneath the hut. As of January 28th, 17 huts have been placed across 4 villages, and we plan to deliver furnaces in the near future.

January 21st, 2012- Using a trailer, an already-assembled hut for barking bread is transported to each village. 

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

Norihiro FUJIMOTO, AAR JAPAN Tokyo office
Joined AAR JAPAN’s Tokyo office in November 2011. After working at a private company for 3 years, studied in New Zealand for approximately half a year. Then worked at a human resource consulting firm and joined AAR JAPAN with the desire to help those in need.