UN sends thousands of tents to aid Turkey quake victims

UN sends thousands of tents to aid Turkey quake victims

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse

The United Nations said Thursday that it has sent thousands of tents to Turkey for those made homeless by the deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake, after an appeal from Ankara for relief.

 "Following the government call for international assistance in the form of tents and prefabricated houses, OCHA has donated 400 family-sized tents which arrived in Erzurum last night," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

 "Erzurum has been identified as the receiving hub of international assistance coming in by air," she said.

 In addition, the UN refugees agency has donated 4,000 tents, 50,000 blankets and 10,000 bed mats while the UN Population Fund has given 250 tents.

 As snow blanketed eastern Turkey, many families have been forced to sleep in overcrowded tents or even out in the open around fires as the temperatures drop to below freezing.

 Some families who had stayed in tents even began returning to their homes despite warnings that they were still at risk of collapse from aftershocks.

 Besides the cold, the population was also facing water access problems, Byrs noted.

 "The first cases of diarrhoea and pneumonia are emerging. We are worried about this," she added.