In Turkey, snow falls on Thursday (2 December) temporarily halted the relief airlift to the victims of last week's earthquake which killed an estimated 4,000 people in a remote Eastern region.
In Turkey, snow falls on Thursday (2 December) temporarily halted the relief airlift to the victims of last week's earthquake which killed an estimated 4,000 people in a remote Eastern region. The little airport at Van city, centre of the international relief operation for 50,000 homeless villagers, had to close. But officials said that the week-long airlift had already brought in most of the supplies needed for the immediate emergency.
SYNOPSIS: The airport at Ankara, the Turkish capital, is the first staging post for the big mercy mission. Relief supplies, consisting mainly of tents, clothing and medicines, have come in from many countries, including the United States, West Germany, Britain, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Officials of the Turkish Red Crescent, the equivalent of the International Red Cross, said on Wednesday (1 December) that about 15,000 lightweight tents and large amounts of blankets, food and medicine had reached the stricken region. But rescue teams then faced a desperate race against the worsening weather. Polar-type tents to give shelter against the bitter winter were urgently needed for the thousands still homeless on the bleak high plateau hit by the quake.
West German aircraft have been heavily used in the big airlift. They have shuttled in and out of Van, the provincial capital to south of the disaster area.
The tiny airport at Van became the centre for the airborne relief operation. Thirty planes landed there in 12 hours as the mission went into top gear at the beginning of the week, (Monday 29 November) and the flow continued in spite of some bad weather. But the latest snow falls which closed the airport on Thursday (2 December) were a blow to survivors, threatening them with further misery.
Hundreds of villages were destroyed in the earthquake, which hit an area about 500 kilometres (300 miles) wide. By Tuesday (30 November) more than 2,000 of the survivors had been moved to shelter in government buildings and military installations in Van city, according to the state-owned Turkish radio. Some found refuge in other towns and military bases. A reuters report quoting informed sources said distribution in the devastated region had improved substantially after bottlenecks developed early in the operation