Turkey’s recovery after the devastating earthquake has now entered a “humanitarian phase”, according to Jamie LeSueur, head of emergency operations for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
LeSueur told CNN from Gaziantep that the biggest needs of those affected in Turkey remain food, health and water as his team moves on from the search and rescue operation.
“We’re now in a humanitarian phase. It’s going to be a few months and we’re still trying to meet people’s basic needs,” LeSueur said.
The organization is currently taking in many winter tents because of the cold weather, but it is looking at prefabricated transitional shelter options, he said. Most were afraid to go inside, even if their homes weren’t completely destroyed.
“We want to move them out of the humanitarian phase as quickly as possible and into a sustainable and transitional phase that will keep them safe for the long term,” crisis responders said.
LeSueur added that his team is preparing for any eventuality, including the spread of the disease, and they are coordinating with the Turkish Red Crescent on health needs.
He said the Red Cross was equipped to respond to needs in southern Turkey, but also in hard-hit northwestern Syria, where aid had been complicated by years of civil war.
“In Turkey, we have an operation going to the Syrian border, where we are using the Syrian Arab Red Crescent extending all the way to the Turkish border; we are trying to cover the entire area of operation with two National Societies,” he said. explain.