October 28, 2011

In collaboration with Turkish NGOs, MSF will distribute winterized tents, blankets, and cooking sets to around 10,000 people. 

Following the earthquake that struck eastern Turkey on October 23, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has sent a team to the most affected areas—the cities of Van and Ercis in the southeast of the country. The disaster has killed at least 500 people and injured 2,500.

“The main hospitals have not been affected by the earthquake,” said Jerome Souquet, MSF’s emergency program manager. “The health system was strong and is responding adequately to the medical needs. In Van and Ercis, the two main cities, the response by the Turkish authorities has been globally good. However, the MSF team has identified a number of villages outside the main cities where people are living in very harsh conditions with temperatures below zero at night. Some have lost their homes and others are afraid of aftershocks and do not want to go back to their houses. Some people are sleeping in cars, in very precarious conditions, and need assistance”.

In collaboration with Turkish non-governmental organizations, MSF will distribute winterized tents, blankets, and cooking sets to around 10,000 people. Two cargo planes with 140 tons of relief material are being sent from Dubai, where MSF has a logistical base. At the same time, the team on the ground in Turkey is being reinforced in order to prepare for the distribution.

As the water system in these villages has been damaged by the earthquake, MSF is also exploring temporary solutions to resume water supply. The team is also in conversation with local organizations of psychologists in order to start providing mental health assistance to the affected population, an important need in the aftermath of an earthquake.