Earthquake Turkey: Gaps in aid as death toll rises Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission

26/10/2011

Earthquake Turkey: Gaps in aid as death toll rises

Malteser International: Dozens of villages in ruins

Cologne. Three days after a disastrous earthquake in the Turkish province of Van, residents of small villages in the affected area complain of a lack of relief. “The damage in the villages is incredible,” reports Ingo Radtke, Secretary General of Malteser International, the relief service of the Order of Malta for humanitarian aid.  Malteser International is working closely with Turkish partner organisation International Blue Crescent (IBC), who is currently providing relief on the ground. While the search and rescue operations and medical assistance to survivors in the large cities of Van and Ercis should receive reinforcements from the international community, the rural areas continue to be largely on their own.

More than 30 small towns have been either completely destroyed or are largely uninhabitable. In Tabanli, the village closest to the earthquake’s epicentre, almost all houses have been demolished. In Mollakasim, more than two-thirds of all houses lie in ruins. Through its local partners, Malteser International will start tomorrow to distribute food in these rural towns. In Van and Ercis, IBC will distribute 1,000 small wood-burning stoves for heating and blankets.

There are already clear signs that the region’s residents will need more than just short-term help to recover. “The livestock has died or run away in the chaos, and this year’s harvest has been lost, because it had been stored in the collapsed buildings,” Radtke says.