While the devastating effects of the earthquakes in Kahramanmarash, Pazardzhik and Elbistan continue in 11 different provinces, many citizens of Turkey and other countries are sending aid to the earthquake zones. On the other hand, videos posted on social media show that crates of clothes sent to the earthquake zone form a pile of rubbish and become unusable when found in the mud. Humanitarian logistics and disaster management experts are pushing for aid to be delivered to the quake area in an organized manner. It also emphasizes that unorganized and unplanned assistance does more harm than good. So what are the known misconceptions at the moment? How to help the earthquake area? Let’s look at the details together.

The bitter reality of Turkey in the earthquake zone: 7 million buildings are at risk of collapse

Unorganized help does more harm than good

Unorganized aid sent to earthquake areas can cause many problems when it reaches the region. Out-of-the-weather clothing, used items, and poorly packed wet-cleaning boxes do not help earthquake victims. Humanitarian logistics and disaster management expert prof. Dr. Burcu Balchik also insists that unorganized aid does more harm than good.

Slime: “Don’t send anything unorganized, don’t send a truck. You can respond to the calls of municipalities and non-governmental organizations, but we should not take what we have in our house or send a car.” Balchik also states that otherwise the aid sent turns into waste and garbage. On the other hand, there is a need to destroy these unusable aids.

So how do you help earthquake zones?

Thousands of trucks from Turkey and abroad are heading to earthquake zones with relief boxes. So how can you help during an earthquake? Experts who pay attention to the planned and organized action in the process of providing assistance also tell how they can do this to those who want to lend a helping hand to the earthquake-affected region. On the other hand, unsolicited assistance sent by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and official agencies on the ground can block important and urgent efforts in the disaster area.

Balchik from the Faculty of Industrial Engineering at Oziegin University draws attention to the need to prioritize financial aid and provide assistance over a long period of time. Director of the ITU Institute for Disaster Management, prof. Dr. Mikdat Kadioglu also states that it is recommended to increase financial assistance during natural disasters. Kadioglu says: “This money should be used to shop in the devastated region and surrounding areas so that the local economy does not collapse and provoke internal migration.”

There are some things to watch out for people sending help with a truck.


Disaster management expert Kadioglu emphasizes that if aid is sent to an earthquake area by truck, the following factors should be considered: First of all, one should consider how the materials sent correspond to the needs there. On the other hand, it is necessary to calculate how much a truck transports a certain material there. Care should be taken to ensure that food materials do not deteriorate until they are gone. The other most important point to consider when sending a TIR to a disaster area is the traffic the trucks will create in the disaster area.

Since disorganized trucks can cause traffic, they can prevent ambulances or cranes from quickly getting to the scene to conduct search and rescue operations. In addition to this, Kadyoglu states that the classification and distribution of these funds is a lot of work, as well as accounting for the traffic created in the disaster area. Kadioglu last “AFAD or other agencies are so busy responding to emergencies that they don’t have time to manage donations” adds his point of view.

Everyone should help within their competence.

Humanitarian logistics and disaster management expert prof. Dr. Burcu Balçık also states that those who send individual assistance should cooperate with institutions working in this field and NGOs. Stating that humanitarian aid organizations will be working in the disaster area for months, Balchik adds that individual aid must be sent long-term and in an organized manner. Speaking about the fact that everyone can support the process on a computer within their competence, Balchik talks about the importance of citizens first of all determining how they can help.

Balchik continues: “Translators are needed, the OpenStreetMap humanitarian team is doing the mapping. Wherever we work, we can talk about what can be done in our organization in the long term. A little calmed down and thinking about their competencies. If we are software developers, for example, if we produce diapers, we can decide how to help us in the long run by talking to an NGO. We can become a volunteer in an NGO; When we are called into such a disaster, we can be part of the training assistance we receive.”

“Victims of natural disasters should also get involved”


Emphasizing that quick and unplanned assistance is not the best help and may even lead to other disasters, Balchik adds that persons without special knowledge should not go to the disaster area: “I say to those who can’t help but want to go there, ‘Don’t go, the roads are closed and they will spend resources to make you sleep, drink and sleep.’ On the other hand, Balchik argues that it is more important for their psychology that such work is done by the victims: “It is believed that survivors cannot do this kind of work, but research shows that it is very important to involve survivors in this process. Being a part of something, restoring something, being part of a restoration is psychologically valuable.”

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