Coordination of International Humanitarian Relief Support After Van (Turkey) Earthquake
The purpose of this study is to provide an analysis on coordination of humanitarian relief support activities provided by international actors after Van Earthquake. The study is based on the first author’s Crisis Centre experience at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (MFA). The province of Van in eastern Turkey was hit by a destructive earthquake of magnitude 7.2 on October 23, 2011. 644 people were dead, 4200 people were injured and 17005 buildings were collapsed because of the earthquake, as reported by Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency. National resources were available and sufficient for search and rescue operations; however, Turkey called for an international humanitarian assistance on 26 October, 2011 due to the need for winter tents, prefabricated houses and living containers.
The main institutions in Turkey that were involved in the coordination of international humanitarian relief support activities were Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (DEMP), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (MFA) and Turkish Red Crescent (TRC). DEMP was the authorized institution to accept humanitarian aid offers coming from foreign countries. MFA was the responsible institution for communication between foreign countries and DEMP. Assistance offers coming from foreign countries directly or via international organizations, such as Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC), European Civil Protection Mechanism Monitoring and Information Centre (ECHO-MIC), and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) were transmitted to DEMP by MFA to get approval for acceptance. TRC was in direct contact with International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), and decisions on offers coming via IFRC were taken by TRC. Although the inclusion of different international agencies working on similar purposes increased the complexity of international humanitarian relief support coordination, relevant Turkish authorities successfully managed the coordination activities.