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The earthquake of October 2011 destroyed this hotel in the Turkish city of Van.
The earthquake of October 2011 destroyed this hotel in the Turkish city of Van.


On October 23, 2011, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck 10 miles from the city of Van in eastern Turkey, killing at least 601 people, injuring nearly 4,2000 others, and causing significant displacement due to collapsed or damaged buildings, particularly in Van and Erçis cities and surrounding villages, according to the Government of Turkey (GoT). Rain and below-freezing temperatures in the days following the earthquake exacerbated conditions for displaced and other earthquake-affected individuals.

On October 25, 2011, U.S. Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone Jr. declared a disaster due to the effects of the earthquake.  In response, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) contributed $300,000 for earthquake relief activities and deployed a USAID/OFDA regional advisor to affected areas to assess humanitarian conditions and help coordinate U.S. Government (USG) response efforts. 



USAID/OFDA Assistance to Turkey


DoD Assistance to Turkey


Total USG Assistance to Turkey


*(As of September 4, 2012)


Latest Turkey Fact Sheet

Turkey Earthquake Fact Sheet #1 (229kb PDF) and map (307kb PDF)

Key Developments

USAID/OFDA assistance included a contribution to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies for the provision of relief commodities and shelter assistance to address the needs of earthquake-affected populations.  In addition, USAID/OFDA funded a team of U.S. Geological Survey seismologists to travel to Turkey to coordinate with the Kandilli Observatory of Bosphorus University, the Earthquake Engineering Research Center at the Middle East Technical University, and the GoT Disaster and Emergency Response Presidency to carry out damage assessments, estimate the probability of future large-scale earthquakes in the region, determine factors that contributed to the loss of life, and evaluate existing GoT systems for monitoring and assessing earthquake hazards. 

To aid earthquake-affected populations in Turkey, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) also delivered relief commodities to the GoT reception center in Erzurum, located in eastern Turkey, through a series of airlifts, the last of which occurred on October 31, 2011.  In total, DoD conducted five flights, transporting 1,366 blankets, 369 arctic tents with heaters and plastic fuel cans, 2,782 cots, and 525 sleeping bags. 

Related Sectors of Work 

Last updated: June 03, 2016

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