By Joe Lowry in Budapest
As the hope for more survivors emerging from the rubble in Van province, eastern Turkey, fades, a massive relief effort is taking shape to augment Turkish Red Crescent’s (TRC) emergency response. Reacting to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) 10.4 million Swiss Franc preliminary appeal on behalf of TRC, National Societies and governments across the world are sending cash and in-kind donations to Turkey to help the thousands of survivors who are living in freezing conditions in the mountainous area.
The relief effort is being coordinated from the IFRC's Europe Zone office in Budapest, Hungary. Head of Operations Evgeny Parfenov said: “We are racing against time to get sufficient qualities of aid into Turkey to add to what has already been achieved by local responders, including our colleagues at the Turkish Red Crescent. We are in contact with them several times a day and we have a good sense of difficulties they face, especially in the quake-affected areas.”
Early this morning a plane left Liege airport loaded with 1,300 winterised tents, donated by the Netherlands and Belgian Red Cross. Cees Breederveld, Secretary General of the Netherlands Red Cross and Philippe Vandekerckhove, CEO of the Belgian Red Cross, have expressed their sincere sympathy with the victims of the earthquake in Turkey: "Our thoughts are with all the Turkish people who have suffered from this terrible disaster. We wish our colleagues of the Turkish Red Crescent all the strength they need in their ongoing effort to help the people in need.
"From experience we know and are confident that they feel and receive the support and strength of our worldwide network of sister societies. Solidarity with victims of disasters is one of the pillars of the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. When disasters strike, it is important that help is provided in a time and cost effective manner. The professionalism and disaster preparedness of the Turkish Red Crescent is an example for all of us, but they need our help. Thanks to our worldwide network, we are able to react quickly.”
The donations joined a growing global fund of which has seen the following items packed for air and road transport to Van.
Almost 60,000 blankets from the German, Norwegian, Canadian, Japanese and Swiss Red Cross societies; 3,600 sleeping bags from the Netherlands Red Cross; 3,000 tents from the Canadian, Swiss, German and Finnish Red Cross; 3,000 shelter tool kits from Japanese Red Cross; and 1,300 heaters from Swiss and German Red Cross.
More aid has poured across the border from the Iranian and Azeri Red Crescent Societies. Cash donations are also being received in response to the appeal and directly by TRC.
Campaigns and appeals to help Turkish Red Crescent meet their objective of getting aid to 50,000 people are under way in the National Societies of the USA, Austria, Azerbaijan, Great Britain, Canada, Croatia, the Netherlands, Germany, China, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, Qatar, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Ukraine.