Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release||November 15, 1999|
U.S. ASSISTANCE FOLLOWING TURKEY EARTHQUAKE
The U.S. continues to lead international relief efforts in Turkey following the devastating earthquake on August 17, which killed 17,000 and left an estimated 400,000 people displaced. Today, the U.S. announces the donation of 500 tents that will provide winterized shelter for 10,000 people. This new donation is in addition to the $14.5 million that was provided in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) deployed two search and rescue teams immediately following the quake. The teams, from Virginia and Florida fire departments, worked with Turkish and other international teams to rescue survivors trapped in the rubble. Before departing, the U.S. teams donated rescue equipment, medical supplies and vehicles to Turkish rescue workers and trained them on their use.
The U.S. military sent the USS Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group to support Turkish relief efforts. The three naval ships brought 2200 marines and 22 helicopters to help deliver relief supplies and address public health and shelter needs. The U.S. military also donated 7,023 tents, and worked with Turkish authorities to establish tent camps.
A 16-member USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) worked closely with local authorities and the U.S. military to conduct shelter, health, water and sanitation assessments; coordinate U.S. military transportation and distribution of relief supplies; prioritize tent camp sites; and advise local organizations on the proper use of plastic sheeting for shelter.
Other U.S. donations include 700 rolls of plastic sheeting, 30,000 blankets, medicine and medical supplies, water containers and 200 portable latrines. In addition, USAID deployed three water purification units that helped provide clean water until normal service was restored. The Department of Defense is also donating spare parts to help repair the Golcuk naval base, which was heavily damaged by the earthquake.
The U.S. has begun a variety of broader efforts to help improve emergency preparedness, increase foreign investment and support Turkey's economic recovery. USAID and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will sign a protocol with the Government of Turkey on cooperation in emergency management and disaster mitigation. This joint effort should help streamline future disaster responses. The U.S. Trade and Development Agency will also sponsor a Turkey reconstruction conference in December.
The U.S. will strongly support additional multilateral reconstruction and economic assistance for Turkey in international fora.
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