UNHCR launches airlift to Turkey quake homeless

October 28, 2011 11:55

GENEVA - The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday that it was launching an emergency airlift to take tents, blankets and other shelter supplies to thousands of people left homeless by the earthquake in eastern Turkey.

The first of four daily Ilyushin-76 cargo planes is scheduled to land on Friday evening in Erzurum carrying 37 metric tonnes of relief items from its emergency stockpile in Dubai, it said. Trucks will take the supplies to the city of Van for distribution to victims of Sunday's quake.

"Each flight will be carrying approximately 500 tents and 10,000 blankets," Adrian Edwards, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), told a news briefing. "The shelter needs are great."

Some survivors have accused the government of a slow response in getting aid to the stricken region and have accused profiteers of hoarding tents and reselling them.

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