Turkey: CMAT stands down deployment after Turkish PM announces no need for international assistance.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 – In the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s earthquake, the Turkish government and local NGOs swiftly took action, and dispatched aid material and domestic personnel to the affected region.
The country has substantial experience of delivering relief after quakes and has declined international aid. Officials now say they are in urgent need of housing. Some 2,000 homes have been destroyed. The death toll from the disaster stands at 459 people, with some 1,352 others injured.
The Deputy PM Besir Atalay, who is coordinating the government’s response at the quake zone in Van province, said tents were being assembled and food distributed as part of a major relief and rescue operation. He said that rescue teams have reached all the villages in the earthquake affected area. Most of the districts of Van and Ercis have now reestablished electricity and phone lines back to normal, and added that all other services will soon be reestablished.
Dozens of aftershocks over 5 magnitude were reported. According to media reports, residents spent the night outdoors and lit campfires, while the Turkish Red Crescent began to set up tents in a stadium and provide other supplies to Van from their logistics depots in various neighbouring provinces in the region. Others sought shelter with relatives in nearby villages.
The Turkish Red Crescent and the military are playing leading roles in the provision of the emergency relief. The Turkish military assigned three cargo planes for use by AFAD to transport relief aid. The Turkish military also dispatched to the region five battalions including rescue teams. Psychosocial and social support services have been assigned through the Governor of Van.
The Ministry of Health is also present in the region with ambulance planes, personnel and field hospitals, and other medical supplies. Two field hospitals in Van and two field hospitals in Ercis were erected.
In light of the Turkish government’s announcement, CMAT has decided to stand down a potential deployment to Turkey, and encourages donors to support the Red Cross and Red Crescent efforts in the region.