UN agency delivers more aid to quake survivors in Turkey

Two flights at the weekend delivered 1,000 tents and 20,000 blankets, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugee (UNHCR), told reporters in Geneva.A third flight landed in the city of Erzurum earlier today with more tents and blankets, and the final flight is due to land within the next 24 hours with additional relief items from the agency’s stockpile in Dubai, according to Mr. Mahecic.The aid is likely to be distributed in and around the badly damaged town of Ercis, which is located close to the epicentre of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the area on 23 October. More than 600 people were killed and 4,000 were injured in the earthquake, according to official figures.In total, UNHCR plans to donate 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 10,000 sleeping mats for the neediest families. The agency is focusing on the well-being of some 2,000 refugees and asylum-seekers known to have been living in the area. Most are Iranian or Afghan nationals.They are in need of food, water and shelter as autumn and winter in that part of Turkey are harsh, with night temperatures dropping to below freezing.Relief assistance in the stricken city of Van is increasing with three aid distribution points now operational, according to the UNHCR, which, along with its partners, has been providing updated information to refugees and asylum-seekers.On Friday, UNHCR sent additional teams to support staff who were present during the quake and who volunteered to remain there.The Turkish Government and local authorities in Van are working on a plan to relocate some people away from the disaster zone. Relocations of registered asylum-seekers and refugees are being organized on a voluntary basis, and UNHCR teams in Van are offering counselling and advice to the people concerned. 1 November 2011The United Nations refugee agency reported today it has airlifted more than 100 tons of relief materials into Turkey to assist survivors of last week’s devastating earthquake in the country’s southeast. read more