Following the devastating earthquakes of 6 February 2023, the Congress made a study visit to Türkiye from 6 to 8 September 2023, for a report on “local and regional responses to major crises”, notably aimed at identifying action to be taken before, during and following natural disasters.
A three-day visit to Türkiye by rapporteurs Jean-Paul Bastin (Belgium, EPP/CCE) and Christian Debève (France, GILD/ILDG) began with in-depth exchanges with representatives of the Union of Municipalities of Türkiye (UMT/TBB), the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) and the Ministry of Environment, Urbanisation and Climate Change as well as international organisations involved in disaster response (Red Crescent, UNDP and IOM).
The rapporteurs then visited some of the municipalities most affected by the first earthquakes on 6 February and the multiple aftershocks in the following days and weeks, learning that the intensity of this earthquake had exceeded any other ever measured world-wide. The delegation was welcomed by the mayors of Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş, Nurdağı and Hatay who, alongside some of their specialised staff, gave detailed insights into their painful experiences in February, including emergency responses and measures for starting the recovery process.
During the field visits, the delegation also met local NGOs involved in the immediate and continuous disaster response and talked to those directly affected by the disaster, including Turkish nationals and Syrian refugees.
One of the aims of the upcoming report is to contribute to building a crisis-response model useful for all countries in Europe for preventing or mitigating the effects of natural disasters in the future.