Israel ship unloads aid for Turkey quake victims

Defense Ministry sends housing for up to 1,000 people left homeless after two quakes hit Turkey's eastern region.

November 18, 2011 11:09
2 minute read.
unloading aid in Turkey

unloading aid in Turkey_311. (photo credit: Defense Ministry)


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An Israeli cargo ship unloaded humanitarian aid Friday morning at Port of Mersin, in Turkey, for the victims of the past month's deadly earthquakes that struck Turkey's eastern region.

The ship, organized by the Defense Ministry, was carrying mobile homes which will be used to house the thousands of people left homeless following the tremors that struck the area near the city of Van. It docked late Thursday night.

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The aid was sent per the request of the government in Ankara and the mobile homes were sufficient to house 1,000 people.

Homelessness became a serious issue in the quake zone as winter temperatures dropped and heavy snows began to fall last week.

The area was hit with a 7.2 magnitude quake in late October which killed 600 people and left thousands homeless.

Less than three weeks later, a second 5.7 erathquake struck 16km south of the city of Van, immediately killing five and burrying scores of victims under rubble.  

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on a visit to the area following the second quake, was met with with a mix of applause and jeers as he called for unity between the people and authorities working to provide relief.

Chants of "We want tents" could be heard as he began speaking, but there were cheers when he spoke of financial aid.

Erdogan promised permanent housing would be provided for the majority of those needing new homes by August next year, before pleading with people to enter tent camps established to see them through the winter.

Israel sent Turkey aid following the first earthquake to strike the area near Van, once home to nearly 100,000 people. The Defense Ministry sent a number of civilian aircraft to Turkey carrying prefabricated homes, warm blankets, and mattresses.

Turkey failed to soften its language towards Israel following the delivery of that aid, underlining ongoing diplomatic tensions between Jerusalem and Ankara.

Ankara did not comment on the most recent delivery of aid.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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