International assistance, mostly in the form of tents and other shelter materials, continues to arrive in earthquake-hit parts of Turkey in response to the Turkish government’s recent appeal for aid.
The magnitude-7.2 earthquake that struck near the city of Van in southeastern Turkey on Sunday (Oct. 23) has left more than 500 people dead and approximately 1,600 others injured, according to the latest figures provided by Turkish officials.
The U.N. refugee agency has responded to an appeal from the Turkish Red Crescent with an emergency operation of four humanitarian flights to bring tents, blankets and other supplies to earthquake survivors in the hardest-hit areas, where a shortage of supplies and freezing temperatures are high concerns. The flights were expected to arrive in the city of Erzurum over the weekend and on Monday (Oct. 31).
European countries have also pledged assistance, with Finland and the Netherlands committing to provide €500,000 ($70,700) each. Finland’s pledge will be used to buy tents and stoves to be distributed by the Finnish Red Cross as part of the country’s response to an International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ appeal. The Netherlands’ aid will be used by the Dutch Red Cross to distribute winter tents for up to 5,000 earthquake survivors.
The Norwegian Red Cross aims to reach 50,000 people with tents, blankets, food, medicines and other emergency relief supplies, while Canada donated 500 winterized tents to the Turkish Red Crescent Society. Spain’s development agency, AECID, sent 329 family tents and other shelter materials.
The U.S. military, meanwhile, has started airlifting sleeping bags, blankets, hygiene supplies and other relief items through its European Command. The humanitarian aid mission is in response to an appeal from the Turkish government, The Associated Press says, citing U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
Medecins Sans Frontieres has also joined the post-quake response: The international medical charity deployed a team to the cities of Van and Ercis to distribute tents, blankets and cooking sets. MSF is also looking at temporary solutions to resume the water supply in these areas.
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