Red Crescent and Red Cross provide urgent assistance following powerful earthquake in Turkey and Greece

Izmir/Ankara/Budapest/Geneva, 31 October 2020 – Turkish Red Crescent Society (Türk Kizilay) is continuing to provide life-saving assistance to people affected by the 6.6 magnitude earthquake that struck yesterday off Turkey's Aegean coast, north of the Greek island of Samos.

According to initial reports by Turkish authorities, at least 25 people have lost their lives, more than 800 have been injured, and several buildings have collapsed or sustained damage following the tremors.

“Right now, we have a critical life-saving window – our teams are focused on ensuring people get the urgent support they need in the hours and days after this earthquake, including hot meals, hygiene items and psychosocial support,” said Ibrahim Ozer, Turkish Red Crescent Deputy Director General for Disaster Management from Izmir, the most affected area in Turkey.

“Many are also unable to return home due to the aftershocks and we’re focused on ensuring some of their most basic needs are met – such as food, emergency housing and other essential items.”

More than 140 Turkish Red Crescent volunteers and personnel were immediately sent to the affected area. Volunteers have been supporting authorities in search and rescue efforts, providing psychosocial support as well as deploying their mobile kitchens with the capacity to serve 56,300 people with hot food.

In Greece, which was also hit by the earthquake, a Hellenic Red Cross rescue team has arrived on the island of Samos and is working with authorities to determine the most pressing needs. The teams are trained in first aid, rescue and water provision among other emergency skills.

Two teenagers died on Samos after a wall collapsed on them while they were walking home from school.

IFRC regional director for Europe Birgitte Ebbesen said the quick response by Turkish Red Crescent and Hellenic Red Cross rescue teams was to be commended and showed the importance of local preparedness and action.

“Turkish Red Crescent and Hellenic Red Cross volunteers are in every town and city across their countries. They are part of the communities they serve - they know the people and their needs. We thank them for their selfless and life-saving work and stand ready to support in any way we can.”

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