EU commits €755 mln in humanitarian aid to Turkey for earthquake response

A child crosses a water ditch under the rain to reach tents set up to home displaced people following two massive earthquakes in February in Adıyaman, southeastern Turkey on March 25, 2023. (Photo by BULENT KILIC / AFP)

The European Union has announced on the first anniversary of twin earthquakes in 2023, Turkey’s worst disaster of modern times, that the EU will provide Turkey with humanitarian assistance totaling €755.6 million in the next few months, Turkish Minute reported.

Two devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey on February 6, 2023, killed more than 53,000 people and left millions homeless in 11 provinces in the country’s south and southeast. The earthquakes caused $100 billion in damage, according to Turkish officials.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell; Janez Lenarcic, commissioner for crisis management; and Oliver Varhelyi, commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, on Tuesday released a joint written statement to reaffirm the EU’s commitment to continue assisting those affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

They said the EU would soon direct an additional €400 million in assistance to Turkey under the EU Solidarity Fund to support the reconstruction of critical infrastructure in the areas of health, education, water and wastewater, noting that it is “the highest amount granted to a country engaged in accession negotiations.”

The officials added that another €355.6 million package is being prepared to support refugees and host communities in the affected areas, in particular for infrastructure rehabilitation and socioeconomic support, and is expected to be signed over the next few months.

In addition to the emergency assistance coordinated via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, with an estimated value of €38 million, the EU provided €78.2 million in humanitarian aid for earthquake response in Turkey in 2023 and €26 million in 2024, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, the Turkey branch of Médecins du Monde (MdM), an international humanitarian organization that seeks to provide emergency and long-term medical care to the world’s most vulnerable people, in a press release called for ongoing assistance to address the extensive needs of the population affected by the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey.

“Communities have demonstrated remarkable resilience against the disaster, yet people continue to grapple with exceedingly challenging circumstances,” said Hakan Bilgin, founding president of MdM Turkey. He said the attainment of a “normal” life remains elusive in the earthquake region.

In Hatay, one of the cities hardest hit by the earthquakes last year, MdM Turkey doctors provided 32,190 essential health consultations to 26,531 earthquake-affected individuals.

MdM provided over 425,321 health services to more than 200,000 people through mobile medical units, primary health care clinics and community centers, as well as case management and hygiene and maternity kits to earthquake-affected populations across Turkey and Syria.

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