"Hope Teams" On Work in Hatay

In the early morning hours of February 6, Turkey and the whole world woke up to news of an earthquake centered in Kahramanmaraş with a magnitude of 7.7. Right after the earthquake a meeting was held at AKOM (Disaster Coordination Centre) under the leadership of the Mayor of İstanbul Ekrem İmamoğlu, where Istanbul was matched with Hatay, one of the provinces affected by the earthquake. Upon the instruction of the Mayor of Sarıyer Şükrü Genç, the Municipality of Sarıyer sent aid material and a team of 131 person, including a civil defense team, search and rescue dogs, construction and electrical experts, health personnel, veterinarians, engineers and architects, who went to start their work in the Samandağ, Arsuz and Defne regions of Hatay.

After the meeting, the Municipality of Sariyer created a three-staged action plan, ensuring that the aid was organized in a proper way and in line with the needs. At the same time, the plan helped to reach the people in need quickly. Following main three decisions were taken in this action plan:

1. Collection of all donations received from mukhtars, non-governmental organizations or individual citizens at Ferahevler Construction Site, Rauf Denktaş Cultural Center and Sarıyer Municipality Main Building

2. Determination of the teams that will be sent to Hatay

3. Accommodation of rescued earthquake victims at the social facility in Kilyos with a capacity of 250 people.

The Municipality of Sarıyer and its residents went to the Disaster Coordination Centers in order to fulfill their duties in the best way. In the face of the disaster that hurt our hearts, everyone was mobilized for the earthquake victims without even thinking of the opportunities at their disposal. The inhabitants of Sarıyer prepared and brought their own spare coats, their newly bought clothes, diapers and baby food they may have bought for their own children, shoes or toys that they have never taken out of its packages to the designated coordination centers for the earthquake victims.

Dozens or even hundreds of people from Sarıyer brought supplies, heaters, and illuminators from their homes to the Construction Site Ferahevler, Rauf Denktaş Cultural Center and the Main Service Building of the Municipality of Sarıyer to support and to heal the wounds of the earthquake victims. The aid of the people of Sarıyer did not end there. Dozens of young people, women and men organized at once and supported our municipality's teams in packing and transporting the aid supplies. The most appropriate of all incoming aid supplies were packed separately in children, women and men products and loaded onto trucks to be sent to the region.


In addition to our Civil Defense Team with 28 persons and technical personnel of 103, our Civil Defense dog Şilan also took part in the search and rescue activities carried out in the earthquake zone. Reaching the earthquake zone on February 7, the Civil Defense teams of Sariyer started to serve immediately in line with the needs with the first tent set up in the Samandağ Atatürk District. Our personnel, who carried out search, scanning and rescue operations in 80 buildings, managed to extract 7 citizens alive from the collapsed buildings in Hatay. Despite all their efforts, the teams, which continued their work day and night almost nonstop, unfortunately pulled the lifeless bodies of 40 citizens from the wreckage. The Municipality of Sariyer, which has always made the equal approach to all living beings one of the priorities of the local government approach, managed to get out a cat, a dog and a cattle alive from the wreckage in the disaster area. Our search and rescue dog Şilan, who has supported all these efforts from the very beginning, found the 8-month-old baby Helen in the 68th hours of the earthquake, helping her hold on to life again.


As the days passed after the earthquake full of bitter news, the news of our citizens who were pulled out of the wreckage alive sprinkled our hearts a little. Accommodation for 250 people from Hatay, who survived the earthquake, was prepared in our social facility in Kilyos. Making arrangements at the facility to accommodate earthquake victims in the best possible way, the Municipality of Sariyer has appointed a full-time psychologist who can consult everyone. The Municipality also established a kindergarten in the facility for the children of citizens from the region. In addition, an area with a library where play activities are held for children aged 2-17 was also set up.


While the Municipality of Sariyer extended a helping hand to the earthquake victims, we started to work together with the Municipality of Defne to establish a disaster coordination center that will serve for a long period. The center, which was planned in a way not to be affected by aftershocks or possible new earthquakes, has a kitchen and dining hall on the lowest floor. With a refueling area on the side part of the building, the center also has showers and toilets. Preparations are underway for the construction of the center, whose upper floor will serve as a management area.


By setting up field tents and mobile soup kitchens for citizens who do not want to leave their homes we tried to make them feel that we are always by their side. We took action by saying that “it's a day of unity”, and as of the 6th day, we have delivered the following supports to Hatay with the efforts of the people of Sarıyer:

• 28 trucks
• 22 buses
• 25 vans
• 10 lorries
• 2 work machines
• 1 excavator
• 1 ambulance
• 1 large generator
• 4 industrial generators
• 23,621 packages with aid supplies
• 1,400 m² field tents
• 1 food truck
• 24 vehicles
• 1 mobile kitchen
• 380 packages of medical materials
• 3,700 heaters
• 9,430 packages of hygiene material
• 15 m2 shower containers
• 15 m2 mobile toilet
• 2 garbage trucks
• 1 excavation truck