Gaziantep – Just over a month since devastating earthquakes hit communities in Türkiye’s southeast, torrential rains on Wednesday, 15 March, caused deadly flooding in Adiyaman and Sanliurfa provinces. With humanitarian needs at already alarming high levels, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has supported the Government of Türkiye to reach affected communities rapidly with essential assistance, including shelters.
“The people of Türkiye are already dealing with the colossal impact of one of the strongest earthquakes in decades and now the disaster is being compounded by heavy rains and flooding,” said António Vitorino, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who visited earthquake affected areas in Türkiye last week.
“It is of paramount importance that we reach these communities with assistance and fast. Our IOM teams are working in partnership with the Government of Türkiye to do so,” he added.
The floods have caused the death of at least 18 people, as well as damage to around 2,000 homes and workplaces, according to the Ministry of Interior. With enough power to damage infrastructure, split roads and move cars, the floods have washed away the temporary shelters and belongings of people affected by the recent earthquakes. Today, IOM dispatched materials to improve and strengthen shelters conditions and mitigate the effects of any additional extreme weather conditions. IOM also provided items to elevate shelters to avoid ground water, as well as materials to strengthen shelter roofs to prevent leaks.
“We’re truly in a difficult situation and now we are trying to live our lives in mud. We cannot even go out to get food. Everything is so difficult, and our resources are limited…I am trying to hold my family together, as a mother must…I want to be mad and get angry, but I don’t want my children to be further affected and become upset. All I can do is cry and then quiet myself,” said Ozlem, a mother of three, who eyes welled up with tears as she spoke outside her family’s tent in a temporary settlement in Adiyaman that has been badly affected by the floods. Last month, she lost their job and home due to the earthquakes.
Today’s initial dispatch of relief items will help 625 people to better protect themselves from extreme weather conditions, while the Organization plans to reach a further 2,290 people over the coming days in both Adiyaman and Sanliurfa. This rapid response has been made possible with funding from the Government of the United States.
The majority of those displaced by the earthquakes have stayed within the 11 affected provinces, two of which are Adiyaman and Sanliurfa. Of these people, more than half are living in temporary settlements, both formal and informal, which consist of shelters like tents, containers or makeshift structures. In support of Government efforts, IOM is co-leading the Temporary Settlement Support Sector which coordinates support for earthquake affected populations living in those sites.
Since the start of the earthquake crisis, IOM teams have been working around the clock to support affected communities, particularly those made homeless. The Organization has dispatched more than 1 million core relief items and nearly 10,000 shelters, including relief housing units which are resistant shelters that provide greater privacy and protection from the elements.
IOM’s appeal for USD 161 million to support response efforts in Türkiye and northwest Syria is currently 35 per cent funded. As urgent funds are needed, IOM will continue to advocate and call the international community to back its vital response.