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AAR is delivering blankets and food to the victims in the severe winter: Turkey Earthquake Emergency Relief


More than 30,000 people have been confirmed dead in the massive earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria on February 6. Rescue efforts are still underway 72 hours after the disaster. AAR Japan dispatched staff from Istanbul office to the disaster area to provide emergency aid and supplies.

A woman is preparing emergency relief supplies

AAR local staff preparing emergency relief supplies

We left the Istanbul office on the 6th, the day the earthquake struck, via Ankara, the capital city, and entered the affected areas on the 7th. In the heavily damaged areas, many residents were trapped under collapsed buildings, and rescue teams worked day and night to search for survivors.

The victims who lost their homes spend anxious nights in large tent shelters in parks and other places or their cars during the harsh winter season when the lowest temperatures drop below freezing. Some survivors stay in emergency shelter, but these facilities become overcrowded day by day.

Children are sheltering

Children sheltering in the disaster area

We used our local network to procure relief supplies and delivered blankets and diapers for children to families holed up in shelters on the night of 7. Many of the victims are young children. Parents told us, “We were helpless in the bitter cold. It’s really helpful to get a blanket for children.

Logistics have completely stopped in the affected areas, and long lines have formed at the few pharmacies in town. AAR and other aid groups bring supplies from neighboring cities, but procurement and transportation are extremely difficult. We prepared and distributed ready-to-eat food packets, blankets, and underwear sets on 8-9. However, much-needed medical supplies and hygiene products need more supply. I feel frustrated to see families with children at their wits’ end.

People gathered at a shelter

Survivors gathered at a shelter

The Turkish government, local authorities, NGOs, and aid agencies are working together to provide emergency assistance in the affected areas. Still, the support is not keeping up with the needs of the victims. Many victims are still waiting for assistance, and we would like to ask for your cooperation in AAR’s support for the earthquake victims in Turkey.

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