Health Needs in Türkiye Remain High Two Months after the Earthquakes

Ankara – Communities in Türkiye continue to deal with the aftermath of February’s devastating earthquakes. Despite the Government of Türkiye declaring six additional provinces as disaster areas in the past week, some key sectors of the emergency and recovery response remain dangerously underfunded, including health two months later. 

“With health facilities and workers greatly affected by the earthquakes, as well as more than 100,000 people injured, the international community must prioritize support for Türkiye’s health care system as the country perseveres on the long road to recovery,” said Martin Legasse, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Senior Emergency Coordinator in Türkiye.  

An estimated 500 health care workers were among those who tragically lost their lives during the earthquakes; hundreds have been injured and thousands left without a place to call home. IOM is providing temporary accommodation solutions for health care workers to facilitate the Ministry of Health’s continuity of care for earthquake survivors. With support from the Government of the USA, IOM has ensured the delivery of shelters to accommodate 800 health care workers. The Organization will expand this support by providing 56 containers to Hatay, one of the provinces hit hardest by this disaster.  

“Health care workers have been an essential part of the earthquake response in Türkiye, working day and night as first responders and as drivers of long-term recovery and wellbeing,” said Dr Sadık Çayan, a doctor and a key national staff member of the IOM’s health team in the earthquake zone. “Many health care workers were themselves affected by the disaster and have put saving the lives of vulnerable people in their communities above everything else. This World Health Day, we need to celebrate them and their dedication.” 

In addition to primary health care, IOM is also providing community-based mental health and psychosocial support services to affected communities and co-leading coordination with WHO within the humanitarian community at the central level, as well as in field hub locations. 

“Recovery should not just be viewed as reconstruction alone but also providing those affected by this disaster with the psychological, social and economic support to rebuild their lives,” said Legasse, IOM’s Senior Emergency Coordinator. 

In February, IOM appealed for USD 110 million to help communities affected by the earthquakes in southeast Türkiye. While the shelter and non-food item sector has received generous support from the international community as a result of the urgent need to accommodate millions of people, IOM’s appeal for the health sector, totalling USD 5.5 million, is underfunded. As urgent funds are needed, IOM calls on the international community to back its multisector operations. 

For more information, please contact:

Olga Borzenkova in Türkiye, +90 539 792 78 67,