Permaculture group reports from Turkey on the real challenges after the earthquake

Bella Bell
Thursday, 27th October 2011

Permaculture people report direct from Van in Eastern Turkey after the earthquake and ask for practical information and help with recovery after the TV crews have left.

We went to Ercis four hours after the earthquake. Compared to the Marmara Earthquake (though it is not correct to compare), the coordination was much faster. NGOs and volunteers helped a great deal; they were not just ineffective bystanders. Military people acted in a flexible way, for example, the commander put 30 soldiers under my leadership despite the fact that I was a civilian, and we built tents; I could not believe it. Again, the notoriously ignorant recovery work (with diggers) caused the death of some people, one or two, I am unsure...

"The visits of the Prime Minister and his people led to a very big delay in the works; their bodyguards caused lost time and they behaved in a very harsh manner towards the local people while trying to protect the government officials, which should not have happened. I called on the district governorship to provide bodyguards that would behave better with the locals but they almost arrested me and would have done so if it hadn't been for the local people who protected me.

"As we distributed bread many people would not take whole loaves, they preferred to take only half and asked us to distribute the other half to those in need. It was worth seeing the way people shared everything, there was neither looting nor quarrel; people were very steadfast and helpful. For example, one of the families that we had put in the tents who lost a family member, came to me around 5 am and said, "Come, my girl, and stay with us, have at least one hour's sleep". It was very touching. The overall picture was very sad, but at the same time everybody was hand in hand with each other.

When we arrived in Ercis, there were many cars with their lights flashing, and we had to wait in convoy. At first we thought that 90% of the people in the cars were relatives of the people affected by the earthquake, but later we realised that these 90% were all people coming to help, bringing whatever they could. My recommendation is that nobody should send (aid) packages yet. The most important time will be in the following few weeks. I think the most important time will be after the media and all the attention seekers have gone away, then the real time of need will come. There is much more to tell but that's it for now..."

A friend from Van, Turkey.


For non-UK donations:

From the UK:

"Perrmaculture people on the ground in earthquake hit Van in Turkey are looking for emergency DIY project ideas in water purification, biochar stove technology, compost toilet design and any more DIY ideas/projects would be appreciated." 

For ideas and offers of practical help with emergency DIY Permaculture solutions please visit the following Facebook community page: Kendine Yeterli Toplum - Bilgi, Beceri, Deneyim, Kaynak Paylaşım Ağı 



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