Office of the Press Secretary
(Auburn, New York)
For Immediate Release September 2, 1999
U.S. Humanitarian Relief Efforts for
Turkey Earthquake Victims
Since a devastating earthquake struck Turkey August 17, President
Clinton has mobilized public and private resources in a broad-ranging
effort to help those affected by this disaster. The earthquake caused
more than 14,500 deaths and 24,000 injuries, with thousands more still
missing. The United States has undertaken the following relief
The President's Special Coordinator for International Disaster
Assistance, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
Administrator J. Brady Anderson, toured the disaster zone on August 31
to survey relief efforts and met with Turkish officials. The U.S. has
provided almost $11.5 million in goods and services to support Turkish
relief efforts (excluding Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group operations).
USAID immediately deployed two search and rescue teams to help
recover earthquake survivors. The U.S. teams from Fairfax County,
Virginia and Dade County, Florida traveled to the region on U.S.
military aircraft and worked with other local and international teams to
retrieve survivors from the rubble. Each U.S. team included 70 rescue
experts, search dogs and sensory and earth-moving equipment. The last
U.S. rescue team departed Turkey on August 28.
A 15-member USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) is in
Turkey working closely with local authorities and the U.S. military to
conduct shelter, health, water and sanitation assessments; help
coordinate U.S. military transportation and distribution of relief
supplies; advise local groups on the proper use of plastic sheeting for
shelter; and recommend further U.S. assistance needed.
The Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), including the USS
Kearsarge, USS Gunston and USS Ponce, has brought 2200 Marines, 22
helicopters and substantial medical treatment capacity to the region.
ARG members are delivering relief supplies and addressing shelter and
medical needs. The Marines are constructing tent camps to house the
displaced, in areas designated by Turkish authorities.
A 20-member U.S. Navy medical team specializing in acute trauma care
provided medical assistance in Izmit during the initial phase of the
disaster response. They have since relocated to the Kearsarge to
supplement its medical capacity.
The U.S. military has donated nearly 5,500 tents of various sizes to
provide shelter for approximately 95,000 people. The military will also
deliver some 200 portable latrines, four generators and water bladders,
and has donated surgical gloves, body bags, masks and medical supplies.
USAID-chartered planes have delivered 30,000 blankets, 16,400
five-gallon water containers, 10,000 hygiene kits, 700 rolls of plastic
sheeting, medicine for 10,000 people, and three water purification
units. The units are installed in the disaster zone and are each
capable of meeting the daily clean water requirements of 27,000 people.
USAID also locally purchased 7000 bars and 3000 bottles of soap for
distribution to disaster victims.
The President encourages Americans to help the Turkish people by
providing support to relief agencies that are active in the region.
Cash donations will enable these organizations to purchase exactly what
is needed, locally and regionally, thus speeding up the delivery of
assistance. For more information on organizations active in Turkey,
call 1-800-USAID-RELIEF or access the USAID web site at