What Happened

On Oct. 23, 2011, Turkey was struck by a powerful earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale. The tremor centered in one of the nation’s poorest regions in eastern Turkey, and it hit just as the weather is turning harsh and snow has been falling.

The British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) reported that people in the hardest-hit town, Ercis, have formed longed queues to try to get access to tents for some form of shelter after their homes were destroyed—and after waiting for hours, many are being turned away because the supplies have been depleted. And those who do have tents aren’t safe from the frigid temperatures and wet conditions.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that in addition to the cold, the survivors are now facing problems accessing clean water. In an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News, OCHA spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said, “The first cases of diarrhea and pneumonia are emerging. We are worried about this.” You can read the full article here.

A little over two weeks later, on Nov. 9, a second earthquake at a magnitude of 5.7 struck Turkey—impeding on-going relief efforts from the first earthquake and adding even more destruction: Islamic Relief’s Germany office and the Turkish International Blue Crescent found that damage from the first quake in most of the affected area ranged from 55% to 100%—and that was made even worse.

How Islamic Relief Donors Helped

Islamic Relief offices around the world closely monitored the situation in Turkey to see how to efficiently and effectively support relief efforts in the region. Through the support of donors, Islamic Relief was able to provide children with winter gear to protect them against the harsh weather. Islamic Relief also provided food and hygiene kits to survivors. More than 400 families were helped, including more than 600 school-aged children.