On January 24th, 2020 a massive earthquake with a magnitude of 6.5 rocked Elazig in eastern Turkey at 8:55pm (1755 GMT). More than 275 aftershocks shook the region with the highest being of magnitude 5.4. At least 21 people have been killed and more than 1,000 injured.
Many organisations immediately mobilised to provide immediate relief to survivors in the form of food, shelter, water, and medicine. However, the temperatures remained below zero, making it extremely difficult for rescue operations and for those who are left without homes. We realized that there would be many difficulties and challenges ahead beyond these initial relief efforts as people in the affected regions look to rebuild lives and livelihoods. Thus, we established the Elazig Earthquake Relief Fund to help address these challenges. We have raised over 16,000£ in less then a month through Justgiving and we are very grateful for the support we have received for the Elazig Earthquake Relief Fund.
Following the events, along with our partner organisation Support Foundation for Civil Society, we have been busy in talks with the leaders of the local NGOs and the Civil Society Disaster Coordination Platform. By working with representatives and support networks of Turkey Mozaik Foundation, we ensured that funds will be directed to appropriate organisations on the ground for maximum impact. We started an application and call process between February 2nd and February 6th, 2020 and received 25 applications form 17 associations, 5 foundations and 2 federations and 1 cooperative. The average grant amount requested by the organisations were TRY 52,792 totalling TRY 1,319,819 from all 25 applications. The average duration of the requested grants were 3 months.
We evaluated the applications on 7 February, and agreed to grant the first stage funding of TRY 60,000 to Hayata Destek Dernegi / Support to Life Association.
Support to Life Association (Hayata Destek Dernei) is an independent humanitarian organisation founded with the principle aim of helping disaster affected communities meet their basic needs and rights. Since 2005, Support to Life conducts its activities with principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence and accountability.
Support to Life will use Elazig Earthquake Relief Funds grant to conduct activities in the field that will enable them to correctly identify the short and medium term needs of those affected by the earthquake and to meet these needs. With an aim to ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of the voluntary work taking place in the region, Support to Life will implement an accelerated training program on disaster response that will strengthen the capacity of students of the Firat University Social Services Department in Elazig. Under the supervision of Support to Life, this volunteer team will organize household and tent visits to identify needs and will inform the relevant institutions to meet them. Needs analysis and monitoring reports will also be prepared by Support to Life in order to determine the current situation in the field and to monitor the distributed aid.
Many of the applicants for the first stage had proposed projects with a longer term vision, focusing on psycho-social rehabilitation and improved livelihood of the survivors. Through this process, we have also identified a small number of charities that we are communicating with for second stage funding. We expect to complete the second stage project development and agree on funding in March.