Turkey: Continuing the Distribution of Relief Supplies in Disaster-Affected Villages

A hotel where 2 staff members of Association for Aid and Relief, Japan (AAR JAPAN) were staying collapsed around 9:23pm on November 9th, 2011 (local time) after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey. Atsushi MIYAZAKI died beneath the rubbles, while Miyuki KONNAI survived with an injury that was not life-threatening. We would like to convey to his family our deepest condolences and prayers that he rest in peace. Cuurently, we have temporarily suspended our activities in Turkey. We will announce our future activities as soon as they are confirmed.
The below is reported on November 9th.
We Have Distributed Relief Supplies to 70 Households in Villages

“Ozal bay, bir tane! (One for Mr. Ozal!)”
“Aydin bay, iki tane! (Two for Mr. Aidin!)”

On November 5th, 2011, the voice of Mr. Tekin Kadas (40 years old) echoed through Göllü Village in Van Province as he read off the names of families. In this village located about 25 minutes by car from the center of the province, approximately 80% of the homes have been completely destroyed or resulted in cracked walls, and many people are still currently living in tents. Here, AAR JAPAN emergency relief team distributed relief supplies to 70 families. The supplies included food such as rice, oil, salt, sugar, and beans, and daily needs such as underwear and detergent.

"I can do this on my own!" With all his might, a boy carries home a basket and a bag filled with relief supplies. 
 The villagers who gathered with their families to collect the supplies waited patiently for their names to be called by Mr. Kadas in a village square. The sun sets earlier here than it does in Japan, and nightfall begins to slowly set in around 3:00 in the afternoon. The sun hit the mosque in front of the square and the windows shattered by the earthquake were clearly visible. When we handed the relief supplies to the villages, they said “Thank you” with big grins on their faces and returned home. Young schoolboys who accompanied their parents said, “I can carry this. It’s not heavy at all,” as they dragged home baskets full of supplies with all their might, taking a rest every 5, 6 meters.

The district chief, Mr. Sait Sider70 years old, thanked us with a big smile. “We appreciate you coming to such a far away place all the way from Japan. We thank you in the name of God. Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

On one hand, the government’s support is starting to reach the villages in the outskirts of Van Province, but on the other, poor people in central Van City have rarely received supplies other than tents. AAR JAPAN plans to distribute relief supplies to these kinds of people who are vulnerable or left out.

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

Distributed items per family

Food items: 10 kg of rice, 2 kg of oil, 1 kg of chicken, 1.5 kg of salt, 750 g of sugar, 2.5 kg of beans, 1 kg of macaroni, 500 g of tea, 1 can of tomatoes, 1 box of biscuits
Non-food items: Underwear (2 pairs for men, 2 pairs for women, 4 pairs for children), 1 box of detergent, 3 packs of women’s sanitary products, 1kg of soap, 2 towels, basket for distributing items

Families returning to their homes after collecting their share of supplies.
The food supplies and daily necessity items were separated into baskets per family.
Atsushi MIYAZAKI (left) and Yumeka OTA (right) pictured with the villagers holding the relief supplies.
A range of snow-capped mountains can be seen from the village. The temperature reaches below freezing point in the morning and evening.
Mr. Kadas (center) took roll of the villagers and coordinated the distribution of supplies.
The ray of sunset gently hit the mosque with broken windows and peeled walls at the square where the villagers gathered.

Miyuki KONNAI, AAR JAPAN Tokyo Office
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)