UNHCR flies aid to Turkey for earthquake victims

News Stories, 1 November 2011

© UNHCR
A forklift truck loads up with aid for Turkey at UNHCR emergency aid warehouse in Dubai.

ANKARA, Turkey, November 1 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency has airlifted more than 100 tonnes of aid to Turkey for survivors of last week's devastating earthquake in the east of the country.

Two flights at the weekend brought 1,000 tents and 20,000 blankets. A third flight landed at Erzurum earlier today with more tents and blankets and the final flight is due to fly to Turkey within the next 24 hours with relief items from UNHCR's stockpile in Dubai.

The aid is likely to be distributed in and around the badly damaged town of Ercis, which is located close to the quake epicentre. More than 600 people lost their lives and 4,000 were injured in the earthquake, according to the government.

In total, UNHCR plans to donate 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 10,000 sleeping mats for the neediest families. The organization is focusing on the well-being of some 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers known to have been living in the area. Most are Iranian or Afghan nationals.

They need food, water and shelter as autumn and winter in this part of Turkey are harsh. There is already some snow on the ground and night temperatures have dropped to below freezing. Some worried refugees and asylum-seekers have left the area, including the city of Van.

Relief assistance for Van is increasing by the day. There are presently three distribution points in the city. UNHCR and its partners are providing updated information to refugees and asylum-seekers.

Last Friday, UNHCR sent additional teams to support staff who were present during the quake and who volunteered to stay on. The UNHCR office in Van remains operational and is working closely with the local authorities and NGOs to facilitate deliveries of humanitarian aid.

The Turkish government and the local authorities in Van are working on a plan to relocate some people away from the disaster zone. Relocations of registered asylum-seekers and refugees are being organized on a voluntary basis and UNHCR teams in Van are counselling and advising groups.

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Emergency Response

UNHCR is committed to increasing its ability to respond to complex emergency situations.

Pakistan Earthquake: The Initial Response

The UN refugee agency is providing hundreds of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for victims in northern Pakistan. UNHCR is sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets, blankets and other items from its global stockpiles. Within a few days of the earthquake, just as its substantial local stocks were all but exhausted, UNHCR began a series of major airlifts from its warehouses around the world, including those in Denmark, Dubai, Jordan and Turkey.

UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, but it quickly joined the UN humanitarian effort because of the sheer scale of the destruction, because the quake affected thousands of Afghan refugees, and because the agency has been operational in Pakistan for more than two decades. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the regions most severely affected by the quake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in camps.

While refugees remain the main focus of UNHCR's concern, the agency is integrated into the coordinated UN emergency response to help quake victims.

Pakistan Earthquake: The Initial Response

Pakistan Earthquake: Braving the Winter Cold

December 2005 – January 2006

Winter in northern Pakistan has not been as harsh as many feared, but earthquake survivors are still experiencing dangerously low temperatures, along with snow, heavy rain and landslides.

To help people survive the tough conditions, UNHCR has distributed blankets, plastic sheeting, tents and stoves. Vulnerable children in Danna village, north of Muzaffarabad city, have received warm clothing. In camps in North West Frontier Province (NWFP), communal, heated tents have been set up, while in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, where there is not enough space for communal tents, stoves are being distributed to individual families. UNHCR staff are training camp residents on the safe use of stoves and reducing fire hazards. Finally, UNHCR partners are registering people displaced by earthquake, gathering information vital for both the provision of aid to survivors now and the reconstruction that will come later.

UNHCR is responsible for supporting the Pakistan authorities in some 160 relief camps housing nearly 140,000 people left homeless by the October 8th quake.

Pakistan Earthquake: Braving the Winter Cold

Pakistan Earthquake

The UN refugee agency is providing hundreds of tonnes of urgently needed relief supplies for victims in northern Pakistan. UNHCR is sending family tents, hospital tents, plastic sheeting, mattresses, kitchen sets, blankets and other items from its global stockpiles. Within a few days of the earthquake, just as its substantial local stocks were all but exhausted, UNHCR began a series of major airlifts from its warehouses around the world, including those in Denmark, Dubai, Jordan and Turkey.

UNHCR does not normally respond to natural disasters, but it quickly joined the UN humanitarian effort because of the sheer scale of the destruction, because the quake affected thousands of Afghan refugees, and because the agency has been operational in Pakistan for more than two decades. North West Frontier Province (NWFP), one of the regions most severely affected by the quake, hosts 887,000 Afghan refugees in camps.

While refugees remain the main focus of UNHCR's concern, the agency is integrated into the coordinated UN emergency response to help quake victims.

Pakistan Earthquake

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