The Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan T.D., has announced that Ireland will provide emergency aid for thousands of earthquake victims in Turkey.
More than 200,000 were left homeless by the earthquake in the provinces of Van and Bitlis on Sunday 23 October. The earthquake, which measured 7.2 on the Richter scale, led to the collapse of 2,000 buildings and the confirmed death toll is nearly 500.
Minister O’Sullivan said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through Irish Aid, would provide 600 large tents and 3,000 blankets from its humanitarian stockpile in Dubai. The supplies will be airlifted to Turkey by the United Nations, arriving later this week. The total cost of the operation will be €300,000. The situation is particularly urgent given the onset of winter, with night-time temperatures in the affected regions dropping below freezing.
“There is a pressing need to provide emergency shelter to hundreds of thousands who have been affected by the earthquake,” Minister O’Sullivan said.
“When news of the crisis came through on Sunday, the Tánaiste immediately offered Ireland’s assistance. We have since been working in close contact with the Turkish authorities through our embassy in Ankara and have offered to provide tents and blankets for the most vulnerable.”
“I have today asked Irish Aid officials to arrange for tents and blankets for up to 3,000 people to be transported to the earthquake zone from our stockpile of humanitarian supplies in Dubai.”
Minister O’Sullivan also said officials from the Irish embassy in Turkey would attend a meeting convened by the UN in Ankara tomorrow to assess how the international community can support the massive relief operation launched by the Turkish Government at the weekend.
26 October 2011
Note to editors:
• Irish Aid maintains emergency stocks within the UN Humanitarian Relief Depot system located in or close to crisis-prone parts of the world. Through this network Irish Aid maintains supplies in Panama, Malaysia, Dubai, Ghana and Italy (Brindisi).
For further information or to request an interview with Minister O’Sullivan, please contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 087-9099975.