Together with our donors, we respond to the basic needs of people affected by the earthquake. As part of our project that we work with implementing partner of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid Agency, we reached more than 62 thousand people this year.

We have left behind an unprecedentedly difficult year for humanitarian needs in Türkiye. According to official data, the effects of the February 6 earthquakes, which killed 53,537 people and directly affected the lives of 9.1 million people in 11 provinces, will continue for many years. Basic needs are still ongoing in the regions most affected by the earthquake. Much of our emergency work has been made possible by our donors who have supported us throughout this year. As an implementing partner of Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe, our project funded by the European Union Humanitarian Aid Agency was one of them.

In this project, which we carried out between March 2023 and February 2024, we had two main response sectors. Responding to hygiene needs in the regions most affected by the earthquake; providing mental health and psychosocial support services in emergency areas.

Solutions to Cleaning Needs in Temporary Shelter Areas

As part of our water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response in Hatay, Adıyaman and Kahramanmaraş, we distributed cleaning packages to 42,785 people; 10,760 people benefited from our hygiene installations.

In the first period when container cities were not yet established, we aimed to respond to the hygiene needs of people affected by the disaster with water tanks, mobile showers and toilets that we started to set up in tent areas. A year has passed, and although the population living in container cities has increased, there are still more than 88 thousand families in the earthquake zone who have to live in informal shelters, in tents or in foldable containers. We offered support to people living in informal areas, starting with the most vulnerable groups.  Fadime, who lives in a tent in Kahramanmaraş, was one of our beneficiaires who received this support: "Those living in container cities have showers inside, those living in tents do not. So we use the showers and toilets set up in this area. I use the water tank the most."

We worked to respond to basic needs not only with installations, but also with our hygiene packs. We found solutions to needs with our cleaning packs, which include items such as detergent, soap, toilet paper and shampoo that a family of 5 would need, or with our women's care packs, which include products such as sanitary pads, moisturizers, underwear, hairbrushes and tweezers. We based our distribution planning on needs assessment that also shaped our entire emergency operation.


In addition to the distribution of cleaning supplies, we also gave awareness waising sessions to our beneficiaries about what needs to be done to maintain hygiene in shelters. Fatima, who lives in a container in Adıyaman, explained the impact of this support as follows: "The information sessions were very useful. Before, my children used to come home with their shoes on straight from school, now I know this shouldn't happen. They distributed brochures about hygiene, and we try to follow them all."

Psychological Support and Protection

Another important pillar of our project was mental health and psychosocial support. Our mobile teams of social workers, psychosocial support workers and psychologists provided services in shelters with our mobile caravan system to reach more people in the earthquake zone.

In addition to the support we provided in the four provinces most affected by the earthquake, we continued to provide support in Batman, Diyarbakır, Mersin and Şanlıurfa, four provinces where people living in earthquake-affected provinces had migrated to. We organized information sessions, school registration support, and in-kind or cash support in conjunction with MHPSS events. Through our Information and Support Line, we helped people affected by the earthquake access accurate information. In 2023, we provided 13,012 different forms of support, reaching a total of 8,792 people in our protection efforts.

Zekiye, a 20-year-old woman who received support from a psychologist in our caravan after staying in a container city in Kahramanmaraş described the support she received as follows: "I never warmed up to the container city, I had a problem of belonging. Sometimes I am very strong, but sometimes I feel very weak. I needed to talk. Seeing a psychologist helped me a lot."

In order to reduce the effects of the trauma caused by the disaster and increase the well-being of individuals, we frequently organized psycho-education sessions in addition to individual psychological sessions. In these sessions, we explained both the methods that can be used to protect the mental health of individuals and what parents can do to establish a better relationship with their children. Büşra, who attended our positive parenting sessions, talked about the positive effects of these sessions as follows: "When I went home from the sessions, I realized that I started to be a little more moderate and patient with my child. You know how you feel when you tell someone your problem and feel relieved, that's how I feel when I come here."

In addition to these activities for adults, we also organized psychosocial activities for children, the most important aim of which was to create space for children to express their feelings and thoughts after the earthquake.

We are leaving behind a difficult year with the contribution of our supporters. We still have a long way to go. We will continue to work in the earthquake region as part of both international and local solidarity.



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