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Emergency Response to Deadly Earthquake in Turkey

  • October 24, 2011

Working with Partners, Offering Aid as Rescue Efforts Continue

A powerful 7.2 earthquake struck eastern Turkey October 23, killing more than 300 people and injuring more than 1,000 — with more casualties expected as rescue teams continue to find both injured and deceased trapped beneath the rubble. Within hours of the disaster, AmeriCares connected with our partners in Turkey who specialize in emergency medicine to assess needs and prepare a targeted response to help survivors of the deadly quake.

An emergency medical module with supplies to treat 15,000 injured survivors stands ready to depart from AmeriCares’ Amsterdam warehouse if needed to support medical teams deployed in the hard-hit province of Van.

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The earthquake rocked the eastern province of Van, located along the border with Iran, where close to 300 rescue teams from across Turkey are searching for wounded survivors. In the hard-hit city of Ercis, roadways have crumbled and approximately 80 buildings have collapsed. More than 200 aftershocks have rattled the area, leaving residents frightened to return home. Many remained huddled near campfires as overnight temperatures neared freezing.

AmeriCares Helped Train 2,200 Emergency Physicians in Turkey

Preparedness drives a successful emergency response, and AmeriCares collaborated with the Emergency Medicine Association of Turkey (EMAT) to train of over 2,200 Turkish emergency department physicians across all regions of the country. Indeed over 120 physicians participated in AmeriCares sponsored emergency medicine courses held in towns located just 2 and 5 hours respectively from the Van earthquake’s impact zone.

Conducted with the Ronald Reagan Institute for Emergency Medicine at George Washington University, this 24-month training initiative consisted of 42 five-day courses covering topics highly relevant to the current crisis including: treating trauma injuries, medical disaster planning, surge capacity for emergency department operations, and effective communications during disaster. While the two-year program concluded in December 2008, the benefits for disaster-struck communities are realized at times just like these.

As the Turkish response unfolds over these early days of the disaster, and the cold winter looms for people who have lost their homes, AmeriCares is engaged with partners to provide assistance where needed.

Earthquakes take place frequently in Turkey, a country crisscrossed by fault lines. In 1999, AmeriCares delivered emergency aid to the country after a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck, killing 15,000 people.

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