Turkey & Syria Earthquake Disaster MARCH 2023 UPDATE

The Rotary Club of Thanet responds to the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria



This update refers to a recent meeting of Rotary International co-ordinators and shows how effective Rotary can be on a global scale when a disaster strikes.

 The Rotary Club of Thanet has been active in supporting Shelter Box which features at the end of presentation below and has donated over £1,000 since the disaster occured. 

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This meeting was hosted by Christine Covotsou-Patroclou (Regional Co-ordinator), the DG of District 2430, Emre Ozturk, and supported by Rotary Leaders from the other two Turkish Districts. Alongside this DG George Azar from D2452 (Lebanon) updated us on the possibilities to support the Syrian community. There were 49 attendees from several zones around Europe including Portugal, Spain, GB&I, Austria and others. 

The main presentation was by DG Emre Ozturk in which he outlined the current situation in Türkiye and the projects currently being undertaken. Summary of Emre’s presentation There have been 47,000 deaths reported and around 7,500 aftershocks as well as all utilities in several towns being completely destroyed. The hospitals, schools and other public buildings along with thousands of private buildings were completely destroyed. As the earthquakes occurred at night the survivors were in their night clothes and therefore lacked such things as shoes and day clothes. In response Rotary in Türkiye put into place a three part plan of action.

 Part 1 a) Rotary set up four centres and supplied 100 trucks with provisions and emergency aid which was able to provide food for 300 people for three weeks. 

b) Set up three “tent cities” in Iskenderum (100 tents), Adryaman (50 tents) and Kirikhan (50 winter tents). Food, toilets and showers were also provided.

 c) Two shelter centres were provided in neighbouring towns with food and hot water for 300 people. d) Rotaract held parties for the children. 

Part 2 a) In this part of the programme, they are committed to providing more permanent living centres. They are using containers which have a kitchen, toilet, shower and living space. These are not freight containers and they have thermal insulation. They have provided 120 and are hoping to increase this to house 220 families. Each container costs in the region of $3000 - $5000. 

b) Providing other facilities in the centres such as laundry, social space and centres for women.

 Part 3 Using Global Grants the three Districts are committed to providing health, hygiene and educational facilities. 

a) A medical Centre has been applied for. b) Two more applications are ready one for a large articulated lorry housing a commercial kitchen and the other for a nursery for young children. Issue 2.4 Disaster Response Bulletin March 2023 There were two more presentations by DG’s Summary of DG Duat Baysan’s presentation from D 2420 The city of Andana was severely damaged with 175000 homes needing to be rebuilt. There were no services in the city. Three hospitals collapsed and people going without washing facilities for more than 10 days. Thankfully gas and electricity has been reinstalled but no sewerage or fresh water. Rotary has sent 40 containers with necessary supplies. They have also supplied an ultra-sound scanner for the maternity unit. Food production has also been affected. The earthquake has caused the citreous fruit to drop off the trees before it was ready thus greatly reducing the harvest. Food production has also been affected. Summary of DG George Azar’s presentation from D 2452 (Lebanon) George pointed out that Syria is closed with respect to Rotary helping in that country but there have been many refugees coming from Syria to Lebanon, Armenia, Jordon and Cyprus. North Cyprus has taken 2000 – 3000 refugees with Kyrenia taking 9000. There is a desperate need for water.

 Shelter Box are fortunate in that they are able to operate in both Türkiye and Syria and to date by working with Rotary and local authorities they have been able to achieve: They have imported tents into Türkiye soon after the earthquake, more tents and other essential items like blankets, mattresses, stoves, and lighting are almost ready. Their emergency response teams are based in Gaziantep – a large city in southern Türkiye - and Istanbul. They continue to visit affected areas including in Hatay and Adiyaman where there has been significant destruction. In northern Syria, as well as tents, high thermal blankets, and mattresses, they will be supplying people with solar lights, water carriers, and multi-purpose cash. Cash assistance gives people who have been left with very little the flexibility to get what essential items they need. It gives them a choice. With no electricity, solar lights will help families spend time together during dark evenings, and watercarriers will help people store their own drinking water. 

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February 2023. ShelterBox commented:
'ShelterBox is committed to respond in both Türkiye and Syria. Our response will focus on the areas where the needed is greatest.

We will be providing tents to help people to shelter from the winter weather, prevent the spread of disease, and gain some privacy. We’re providing thousands of blankets and expect items like solar lights and mattresses to be needed. And we are also distributing warm children’s clothing in northern Syria.

The conditions are challenging and our emergency response teams are working around the clock to get aid to Türkiye and Syria.

For more details regarding ShelterBox go to :

https://tinyurl.com/4da422ck

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