It has been 10 months since the February 6 earthquakes that directly affected 11 provinces and more than 9 million people in Türkiye. The population at formal shelter areas is approximately 440 thousand people as of November. Almost 100 thousand people live at informal shelter areas and 90% of these shelters are dispersed*.

As an implementing partner of the international humanitarian organization Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, funded by the European Union, in our project we strive to ensure persons living in Adıyaman, Hatay, and Kahramanmaraş that were the most affected from the earthquake access core rights and services. Among these services, our priorities are psychological and psychosocial support efforts next to provision of clean water and hygiene conditions.

We are in Adıyaman where approximately 9 thousand people lost their lives and 8 thousand others were severely injured. Due to the earthquake migration occurred both to other cities and from the center to villages, rural areas. The overcapacity of the villages causes problems in access to infrastructure and necessities. Therefore, we shape our humanitarian response especially towards residents in rural areas.

Gölbaşı is one of such areas. We meet with Fatima* who lives in a container city 65 kilometers away to the center. The shelter area that Fatima lives hosts about 850 Syrian families. In another container city right across, about 850 local families live. When there were some tensions between the two communities, the shelter areas were divided into two and enclosed with fences.

Fatima created a tiny little garden outside her container. There are many types of plants and flowers in the flower pots she made out of plastic bottles. Fatima came to Türkiye from Idlib 10 years ago when she lost her husband in the war in Syria. Fatima established a new life in Türkiye with her 9 children and she is currently living in a container with her two children aged 10 and 16.

When the building they were living in collapsed, the family took shelter in the shop in the industrial zone where their son worked for a while, and has been living in a container area for about 6 months. Fatima accepts life as it is with the good and the bad it brings and is grateful under any circumstances. She explains their life before the earthquake when they were living on social assistance by saying ‘we were doing well’. She points at the only thing they could take out of their destructed building, a cushion seating set and says, ‘we lost our home and our belongings but thankfully we are fine, we got used to it.’

In Gölbaşı we are particularly working to ensure people affected by the disaster access clean water and hygiene conditions. In this scope we install mobile toilets, distribute hygiene packages to meet household and personal cleaning needs and dignity packages for women.  We are also organizing information sessions on how to use the cleaning products we distribute and how to keep our environment clean. Fatima is one of our female beneficiaries that participate in such information sessions.

“This is where I first hear Support to Life’s name. Initially they came and distributed cleaning packages. No one comes except them anymore. The information sessions were very useful. Previously my children directly entered home with their shoes on when they came from school. Now I know that should not be. They distributed brochures on cleaning. We try to comply with all of them.”

During information sessions we provide information not just on cleaning measures but also on the harms of child marriage, the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse. Fatima says these trainings were very useful for them.

There is a long road ahead for everyone affected by the earthquake to access core needs. We shape our response starting from the most vulnerable groups. And we will continue to support life as long as there are needs in the earthquake area.

*Source: Support to Life emergency report
**Name of the beneficiary was changed to protect her personal rights.

Gözde Kazaz
Communication Expert / Adıyaman


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