It has been almost a year since the February 6 earthquakes that shook 11 provinces in Türkiye. Ali Toprak, our Project Manager in Adıyaman, tells us about the project we launched with the support of World Vision Syria Response, to improve hygiene conditions in the earthquake region, which is still an urgent need, as well as to remedy the economic difficulties experienced by the people affected by the disaster.

Adıyaman, located in the southeastern region of Türkiye, is one of the provinces most affected by the earthquake. In the city, where the population dropped from 630,000 before the earthquake to 200,000 after the earthquake, two-thirds of the buildings are estimated to be moderately or severely damaged. Both shelter and hygiene conditions are still not adequate, especially in villages far from the center.

As part of our humanitarian aid efforts prioritizing the most vulnerable groups in the regions most affected by the earthquake, we implemented an innovative project in partnership with World Vision Syria Response to respond to the needs in Hatay and Adıyaman. We have two different projects in Adıyaman. For the cleaning and maintenance of the showers and toilets installed in the field, we are hiring services from 20 people for 3 months in return for a salary, in a way that will enable the recipients to participate in the process and generate income. We are also implementing a voucher card system where 900 families can purchase their hygiene needs from our contracted markets for 3 months.

Ali Toprak, our Project Manager says that they are implementing the project in rural areas and villages of damaged central districts, where the need is greatest:

"It has been one year since the earthquake, but most of the people affected by the disaster are unable to meet their current needs because they do not have access to livelihoods. Physical conditions in rural areas are also very problematic. In shelters with one-room containers without toilets or kitchens, toilets and showers are still common areas. Especially when toilets are used collectively, maintenance and cleaning needs increase."

In the 'cash for wash' phase of the project, which provided cash support to 900 families, Ali says that around 1,400 families were interviewed: "We conducted rapid needs assessments in 146 villages in Adıyaman and its districts. We conducted in-depth interviews with 1400 families to learn about household risks. We started to provide support to 900 families identified as the most vulnerable based on the interviews." As for cash for work, the criteria were determined as proximity to the area where showers and toilets will be cleaned, having lost their livelihoods and not working in an insured job.

Ali explains the multidimensional impact of the project on disaster-affected people:

"Financial difficulties and lack of livelihood are of course the most pressing problems. This project sets a good example with the support it offers. On the other hand, the needs assessment interviews alone are good for the people here, because we see that they need to be heard. Especially women cannot find spaces to express themselves. In the past, some organizations promised to help but did not fulfill their promises, which created distrust in the community. We are ethical and transparent in both our interview method and communication processes. We explain what we do and how we do it, and even if we cannot provide support, we inform about it. We provide support in a manner befitting human dignity, prioritizing humanitarian aid principles."

Unfortunately, it seems that there is still a long time before life in the disaster zone returns to pre-earthquake conditions. Until then, we will continue our humanitarian aid operation on the ground, to the extent of our capacity, starting with those most in need, and we will continue to support life.

Gözde Kazaz
Communications Expert, İstanbul



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