On Friday, October 30, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck 8 miles northeast of the Greek island of Samos, mainly affecting the western province and city of İzmir, Turkey, but felt as far away as Istanbul, Bodrum, Mugla and Manisa. The province has since been shaken by almost 1,150 aftershocks, with 43 of them more powerful than magnitude 4.0. There was also a partial tsunami in the coastal district of Seferihisar, where one fatality has so far been reported.
The quake severely damaged structures and infrastructure in different areas of the Bornova and Bayrakli districts of the city of İzmir, pushing the residents to flee in panic into the streets. At least 17 buildings have collapsed, with multiple others damaged. According to official figures, more than 100 people have died, and more than 1,000 have been injured, with numbers in both categories expected to grow as search-and-rescue efforts continue.
The earthquake is being handled by the government of Turkey on a national level through well-established disaster-management bodies, which have set up tents to accommodate thousands of people, and provided winterization items and meals. Gaps in the response include lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and infection prevention and control (IPC) items, which are especially needed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among people left homeless by the quake. There also is a need for water, sanitation and hygiene services for these vulnerable populations.
Consequently, International Medical Corps is working with government officials and other non-governmental organizations to coordinate efforts and assess needs. Based on the needs we’ve seen so far, we will focus on COVID-19 preparedness and prevention by providing PPE, IPC and hygiene supplies, working with an implementing partner in close coordination with the government’s Ministry of Health.