On February 6th, 2023, at 4:17 am, Turkey (Turkiye, as accepted by the UN) experienced an unexpectedly horrible natural disaster: a 7.8 mg earthquake. The epicenter was in Kahramanmaras in the southeast part of Turkiye and the northern part of Syria. Millions of citizens are affected and hundreds of thousands of houses have collapsed as of now. More than 45,000 people are killed and many are still under the rubble. The Turkish Government relief agency, AFAD, and other organizations immediately mobilized to rescue and relocate people from the affected areas to the safe zone.
From the different cities, local governments and citizens immediately started to collect necessary materials such as warm clothes, food, and tents. Because of the earthquake, many roads were damaged and it is hard to reach from the city center to the villages. That is why many relief materials are put in the city center’s logistics center. But because of the snow and the cold weather people could not reach the center to collect the items. After a few days, the weather conditions improved and people started receiving help from AFAD and other organizations.
All our organizations in Turkey, FFWPU, UPF, WFWP, YSP, immediately mobilized, purchased items with the funds sent from the whole region of EUME and made a plan how to go to the affected areas for support. We decided to go to Hatay Antakya based on the local authority’s suggestion. Finally, on the 7th day of the earthquake (13/2/23), our team reached the field with relief materials such as blankets, generators, food, and clothing (underwear for children, women, and men). Because of the earthquake, the entire city was damaged and there was no place to stay, so many people left for the closest safe cities: Adana, Konya, Ankara etc. It was impossible to gather many people in the same place to make a distribution. So we carried our relief materials to each neighborhood to their tent shelter. For one week, from early morning until the next day morning at 2 am our volunteers worked very hard to deliver relief materials. People had to stay all night under the open sky for more than a week.
I am very grateful for all our main supporters from the Europe and the Middle East region and for the collaboration with UPF/WFWP/FFWPU/YSP Turkiye. We distributed 743 blankets, 5 generators, and 2000 pieces of clothing. Also tents, and food. Local people were very grateful for you and your generous support.
In the second stage of our relief activity, we found out that the school in a village where more than 150 families and more than 500 children are living, had been closed since the beginning of the Covid restrictions. It needs repairs in order to open again. We are planning to renovate this school and thus provide the necessary facility for the children to spend educational time and where also women can learn skills and start having a sustainable income to support their families. Because of the earthquake, many people lost their jobs and many families lost their breadwinners. Thank you