Following the earthquake disaster in Türkiye, the International Labour Organization (ILO) supports, by its field operations, to help heal the affected population.

Field Work in the Earthquake-hit Region

From the very first days of the earthquake, the ILO Office for Türkiye worked intensively with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Türkiye (MoLSS) and donors to rapidly convert the resources of existing projects to aid earthquake victims.

In this respect, through the project financed by the German Development Bank (KfW), the emergency needs in the value of 16 million TRY, including 1500 winter tents, 3600 sleeping bags, 2600 pillows, to be distributed in Pazarcık, Kahramanmaraş; Reyhanlı and Antakya, Hatay, were provided in the first place.

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While the activities within the scope of the Elimination of Child Labour Programme, funded by the European Union and carried out by the ILO together with the MoLSS, to protect the children of families in seasonal agriculture from child labour and to school them, were re-planned in line with the needs of the region after the earthquake, first-hand aid was delivered to Hatay, Adıyaman, Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa, which were affected by the earthquakes, through ILO's implementation partners in the field Pikolo Association of Education, Culture, Youth and Sports Club and Young Lives Foundation.

As the first stage of the aid planning, in the week after the earthquake, in line with the demands directed by AFAD at the provincial level, 2,500 clothing sets, 3,600 hygiene boxes, 2,000 hot meals and food parcels were distributed for children and adults, and psychological first aid service was started.

The installation of 30 mobile WCs and 30 shower cabins, which have started to be produced for the needs of temporary settlement areas, is being completed in central Hatay. Work on the establishment of temporary settlement areas was initiated in cooperation and consultation with the MoLSS.

Additionally, work is underway to build playground tents for children affected by the earthquake and provide psychosocial support for quake victims.

The ILO carries out these activities within the framework of the United Nations (UN) humanitarian aid coordination structure, in contact with the Turkish authorities. ILO also called for support for employment-intensive infrastructure investments and debris removal activities within the scope of the Emergency Call for Assistance (Flash Appeal Türkiye), published by the UN on February 16, 2023, in order to support meeting the humanitarian needs after the earthquakes.

The ILO has also initiated a rapid field research for the earthquake-affected population and businesses, along with the preparation of a report investigating the effects of earthquakes on social partners and employment. Following the rapid completion of the aforementioned data and information collection and labor market-oriented needs assessments, the ILO will prepare a comprehensive program for mitigating the effects of the earthquake and for a rapid recovery.

Condolence Messages From ILO

Immediately after the earthquake, ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo sent letters of condolences to both the President of the Republic of Türkiye, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the Minister of Labour and Social Security, Mr. Vedat Bilgin respectively.

In his letter to President Erdoğan, the Director-General said, “On behalf of the International Labour Organization and personally, I wish to convey our deepest condolences to Türkiye in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes that hit Eastern and South-Eastern Türkiye and Syria.” Houngbo underlined that as the ILO, they stand in unwavering solidarity with people of Türkiye and their constituents at this difficult time and stated that they are ready for all kinds of assistance both for urgent needs and for recovery and rebuilding efforts.

In his letter to MoLSS Minister Bilgin, Houngbo said, “Our office in Ankara is already in touch with your Ministry, the social partners, the UN system and the donor community to bring this much needed assistance. Please be assured of our solidarity at this difficult time.”  and asked for sharing of his condolence messages with social partners in Türkiye.