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As of 31 May, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) will hand over its intervention activities in Türkiye, as the emergency response ends, following the devastating earthquakes that killed 51,000 people in the country's southeast.
After the first quake struck on February 6, MSF supported Turkish civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in responding to some of the most acute needs, including psychosocial support and mental health care, water and sanitation services, hygiene, food, shelter and other vital supplies and services.
Even though the emergency phase has now passed, our thoughts are with the many people who have been affected by the earthquakes in Türkiye. Up to three million people continue to live in provisional housing, and as they continue the task of rebuilding their lives, the physical and mental effects of their ordeal remain prevalent,” said Ozan Ağbaş, MSF Emergency Support Manager.
“Now that the most acute needs have largely been met, as a medical humanitarian organization providing assistance in emergencies, we have started handing over our activities to local organisations and authorities. Throughout the coming months, we will still offer some support to local organizations that continue offering relief services,” he added.
MSF-supported teams were among the first to offer psychological support to families of the victims, the first response volunteers, and search and rescue teams. During the emergency phase of the response, MSF-supported NGO staff delivered 4,344,792 liters of water, 96,6 tons of fruits and vegetables, 38,841 hygiene kits, provided and installed 173 showers, 350 toilets, donated 65 containers and 375 tents, while 10,133 people received psychosocial support. They also donated an X-ray machine to a hospital in Kahramanmaraş, and water pump and tanks to the Hatay Training and Research Hospital.
In addition, MSF helped construct three "NEFES" centers - in Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, and Malatya provinces - which serve as essential psychosocial and living spaces. These centers are a ‘safe haven’ in central locations, open to all people, especially to women and girls, offering psychosocial activities for children, washing machines, showers, and separate rooms for mothers with newborns so that they can breastfeed in peace. Running “NEFES” will be supported by MSF, even after scaling down the activities.
“This is the fifth time in the last 30 years that MSF has worked hand in hand with local groups and staff to assist people affected by earthquakes in Türkiye. Either directly, or by supporting local NGO’s, our teams responded to the earthquakes in 1996, 1999, 2011, and now in 2023. As an independent, neutral and impartial international medical humanitarian organization, we remain ready to support people in Türkiye in the future, should our assistance be required,” Ozan Ağbaş said.
All MSF relief activities in Türkiye were carried out by supporting local NGOs, including Imece Inisiyatifi, Yardım Konvoyu, Maya Vakfı and others. Since the early phase of the earthquake response, these MSF-supported NGOs have been active in Adıyaman, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Kilis, and Malatya provinces, delivering much needed aid and relief to the affected population.
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