Six months after the earthquakes: UNDP’s early recovery initiatives in Türkiye

August 8, 2023
A dusty armchair sitting in front of the collapsed buildings with earthquake debris on the background.
Fotoğraf: Bora Akbay

UNDP delivers vital support to people in need – services, shelter, skills training, small business grants - through municipalities, government agencies and local partner organizations 

Gaziantep, 8 August 2023 – It has been six months since devastating earthquakes hit 11 provinces across southern Türkiye on 6 February 2023, striking an area of 110,000 sq km, killing more than 50,700 people, displacing 3.3 million (more than 20 percent of the region’s total population) and destroying more than 313,000 buildings. 

More than two million people are still living in tents and containers across the earthquake-affected region, most of them in informal settlements with limited access to clean drinking water, toilets, showers and other basic services.

To help southern Türkiye recover from one of the biggest natural disasters of our times, UNDP is working to provide paths to recovery for affected communities, and to leave no one behind. Providing needed support to government agencies, municipalities and local NGOs in the hardest-hit Turkish provinces, UNDP is helping restore social services for vulnerable groups, enhance living conditions for displaced families in temporary “container cities,” provide grants to small businesses to restart economic life in communities, offer skills training and job placements for people who have lost livelihoods, and to protect endangered cultural heritage artifacts and landmarks. 

Highlights of UNDP’s key early recovery initiatives:

  •              Care services for vulnerable groups

    • Psychosocial support provided through Izmir Branch of Turkish Psychologists Association to 353 social workers online and other professionals through in-person sessions in Adana and Diyarbakir

    • Five mobile care vehicles and five temporary care centers equipped for provision of social services to the elderly and persons with disabilities in the earthquake region

    • A “purple space,” one of 28 centers set up in the earthquake zone by the Turkish Federation of Women’s Associations to provide counselling and referrals for women and children, established in Hatay. 

  • Waste management, wastewater and drinking water systems

    • Vital public health commodities and debris management equipment, including quicklime, disinfectant, shovels and personal protective gear, provided to hardest-hit municipalities

    • Waste management equipment, including three streetsweepers, three garbage trucks and 660 galvanized wastebins, delivered to earthquake-affected municipalities 

    • A small fire truck procured for Malatya Metropolitan Municipality for use in container settlements

    • Environmentally-friendly waste and wastewater infrastructure and a reverse-osmosis drinking-water system installed in container settlement established by NGO Needs Map at Hatay Expo housing 1,500 displaced persons, plus 80 washers, 80 dryers and 283 air conditioners

    • 250 mobile toilet and shower units (50 of them customized for persons with disabilities) provided for use in formal and informal temporary settlements in Hatay

    • Preparations launched for two pilot recycling centers for earthquake debris in Hatay and Kahramanmaraş as part of a broader environmentally-friendly debris management program

  • Restoration of livelihoods/small businesses

    • 17 dormitory-style containers provided to ISKUR, the national employment agency, as temporary accommodation for field staff to resume their work in the four most-affected provinces

    • “Recovery grants” worth a total of US$550,000 awarded to 257 women-led businesses that were destroyed or damaged during the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş province

    • Small business “recovery grant” scheme worth US$6 million in total launched for all 11 earthquake-affected provinces, with an eye to award grants to 2,600 small businesses by 1 November 2023

    • Vocational training organized for 800 earthquake survivors – in Ankara and Konya for 200 who left the earthquake region, and for 600 people who remained in the region 

    • Vocational training initiative worth US$2.5 million launched for labor-absorptive sectors in the textile industry, in partnership with the leading Turkish textile exporters associations

  • Protecting endangered cultural heritage

    • Containers provided to major museums for temporary protection of at-risk collections

    • Cameras and drones supplied to help inventory of damaged cultural heritage assets

    • International crowd-funding campaign emphasizing cultural diversity prepared for launch 

“UNDP is delivering vitally needed support to earthquake-affected communities,” said UNDP Türkiye Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “But the needs are all but infinite while our resources are limited. For the affected region to shift from survival to revival, international donors need to show continued generosity and solidarity.” 

UNDP support to the earthquake-affected provinces already exceeds US$10 million in the earthquake response, with a further US$31 million mobilized for similar efforts. But UNDP estimates recovery needs at US$548 million.

See UNDP publication “Six Months After” for more details at this link.

For more information: Umut Dulun, Communications Associate for UNDP in Türkiye,