Food and medicine are most in demand after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook eastern Turkey on Sunday, leaving more than a thousand injured and at least 240 dead.
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is in conversation with partner International Blue Crescent (IBC) and is seeking to help meet some of these and other needs, such as blankets, plastic sheets, and hygiene kits for survivors.
“As we received news of the devastating earthquake in Turkey, the UMCOR staff went to work connecting with partners in the region,” said UMCOR head, the Rev. Cynthia Fierro Harvey. “Our prayers are with the people of Turkey at this difficult time.”
According to IBC, the area affected by the earthquake is populated principally by Kurdish communities and is among the poorest areas of Turkey.
The epicenter was in the town of Ercis, about 19 miles from the city of Van, capital of the province of the same name. News reports indicated that Ercis was hardest hit and that there are dozens of small villages in this earthquake-prone region that were devastated in the disaster.
According to those reports, at least 55 buildings in Ercis were completely flattened in the quake.
“Entire villages have [had] huge losses of human life,” as well as agriculture and livestock losses, an IBC report indicated.
Rescue efforts continued today amid the logistical challenges posed by heavily damaged roads and the expected onset of heavy rain and even snow in coming days. Sunday night, temperatures hovered around freezing. More than 200 aftershocks kept survivors huddled outdoors.
While the emergency response continues, there also will be a need for recovery and reconstruction in the devastated area, as homes, health centers, and schools have experienced severe damages. Survivors traumatized in the event will require psychosocial support.
Your support for International Disaster Response, UMCOR Advance #982450, is urgently needed to meet both immediate and long-term needs. Please give generously. Thank you.