UN OCHA: Cultivating Hope in Earthquake-Hit City in Türkiye


Cultivating Hope in Earthquake-Hit City in Türkiye

UNOCHA/Ahmad Abdulnafi
In one of the largest camps for the survivors of last month’s earthquakes in Hatay – Türkiye’s most devastated city – several tents are filled with the sound of children’s laughter. These UNICEF tents in Orhanlı camp serve as educational spaces, providing students from preschool to twelfth grade with a chance to continue their education.
Mahmut Fatmaoğulları, the camp’s Headmaster of education, says: "While establishing Orhanlı camp, I emphasized the importance of providing education for the children affected by the earthquakes. We defend children's rights, we defend human rights, we also defend education rights.”
Mahmut Fatmaogullar (left), the camp's Headmaster of education, and Ali Arslan, Deputy Headmaster, both survivors of the earthquakes. (UNOCHA/Ahmad Abdulnafi)

"We will cultivate hope in Hatay"

Mahmut is from Hatay and survived the earthquakes that wiped out the city. He relocated his family to another Turkish province and returned to Hatay to ensure local children could continue their education. He and other teachers who also survived the earthquakes salvaged furniture from the debris of their damaged schools and brought it to the camp. Within just five days of establishing Orhanlı camp, they commenced educational activities.

“We will cultivate hope in Hatay,” says Mahmut.

UNOCHA/Ahmad Abdulnafi

Local organizations making a difference

The earthquakes left many communities in urgent need of humanitarian aid, from food, water, hygiene and shelter, to medical assistance and psychosocial support. Humanitarian organizations have been on the ground since day one, playing a vital role in delivering this aid.

Needs Map, a social cooperative and UN partner, uses technology to ensure efficient aid distribution by NGOs and hundreds of volunteers.

Nineteen-year-old Maya, an economics student at Istanbul Technical University, has volunteered since the first day of the earthquakes.
“With so many terrible things happening, I could not stay at home,” she says. “This tragedy could have easily occurred in Istanbul, and I could be someone in need of assistance right now. It is crucial to support each other during difficult times, because only through collective efforts can we survive."

Maya is responsible for the delivery of vital food packages to people in need. (UNOCHA/Ahmad Abdulnafi)

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