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Earthquake update: Social workers in Turkey report of ‘unprecedented crisis’

Turkish social workers have travelled to areas affected by the earthquake to help with search and rescue efforts.

10/02/23

Earthquake update: Social workers in Turkey report of ‘unprecedented crisis’

Social workers in Turkey say they are struggling with an ‘unprecedented crisis’, with particular challenges around reuniting children in hospitals with their parents.

A deadly earthquake struck the Kahramanmaras region of Turkey and Syria on Monday with a death toll of more than 21,000.

The social workers at the earthquake zone report that it is an unprecedented crisis involving mass deaths, injuries, and displaced peoples. They are working with other organisations to develop an inventory of needs and places that can provide support, medical services and aid, but this task is significantly challenging because of the shortage of resources. One specific challenge for social workers is connecting children in hospitals with their displaced parents and families.

Social workers are also involved with coordinating volunteers from across the country and working on systems for how aid can be directed to the places in need. In other countries, social workers are coordinating incoming earthquake survivors, ensuring that they have full information on the resources available to them.

Providing an update on the local social work response to the devastating earthquakes, Dr Merve Deniz Pak Güre, Liaison Officer for the Turkish Association of Social Workers, reports that many social workers from across the country have travelled to the earthquake zone over the last three days. However, due to extensive damage to the roads and bad weather conditions, there are many delays.

Dr Pak Güre reports that the social workers practice in accordance with The Ministry of Family and Social Services and Disaster and Emergency Management protocol, which at this stage is primarily focused on search and rescue efforts. In addition, the social workers who have already arrived in the earthquake zone are distributing aid that they bought with them, or that has been delivered by NGOs, the government and international agencies.

IFSW European Regional President, Ana Radulescu, warned that social workers in neighbouring associations should be ‘on standby’ for potential evacuations.

“From the beginning, we have been in contact with the Turkish social workers discussing their needs and the possibilities of providing international support.

“Many social workers from the European region have offered to support social workers in Turkey, and we are ready to make whatever contribution is necessary. Here in Romania social workers have supported quake victims who have been evacuated.

“Social workers in other countries should also be on standby for such evacuations. This initially involves logistical plans organising accommodation, medical support and food supplies.

“The Federation globally stands with social workers and people of both Turkey and Syria”, Rory Truell, IFSW Secretary-General said.

“We commend our colleagues’ actions in Turkey, and are also very concerned for those in Syria. Following the war, Syria has less resources, less professionals, and there are many obstacles to getting supplies and assistance to the affected area. In addition to the excellent work being carried out in Turkey and IFSW Europe, we are also following-up Syrian social workers to develop support systems.”

Turkish Association of Social Workers shared the following account for donation:

Account Name: Tulin Kunar
Euro Account
Bank name: Türkiye Halk Bankası
IBAN: TR710001200941200058000247
Account number: 58000247
Branch: 412/Kızılay/Ankara Branch

More information will be provided when possible.

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