Turkey flag

Habitat for Humanity and Miyamoto Relief partner to support Turkey's earthquake-affected communities

Aug. 30, 2023 — Habitat for Humanity International has partnered with Miyamoto Relief to provide crucial shelter support to displaced communities in Southern Turkey following the devastating earthquake in February. With over half a million people still displaced, the collaboration aims to address the widespread apprehension and uncertainty about building safety, and support (or encourage) the return home for over 95,000 displaced residents.

The earthquake that struck Turkey and parts of Syria caused significant damage, particularly in the provinces of Kahramanmaras and Gaziantep, leaving over half a million people residing in tents, collective centers, and ‘container’ cities. While assessments have shown that approximately 80% of buildings incurred only minor damage or remain structurally intact, many people are still reluctant to return to their homes due to fears surrounding building safety. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, Habitat and Miyamoto Relief’s partnership will develop initial programs that alleviate uncertainty within the affected communities and encourage a safe return to their homes.

As part of this initiative, Habitat and Miyamoto Relief are implementing a comprehensive outreach campaign to encourage families to return to buildings that have undergone rigorous safety inspections. Guidance and support will be provided to overcome access barriers and facilitate the safe and timely return of residents to their undamaged homes.

In addition, the partnership will offer technical training to eligible families, empowering them to undertake self-repair of their homes. Participants will receive instruction on construction safety requirements, ensuring their safety during the repair process. The program’s primary focus will be on expediting the rapid repair of lightly damaged homes.

Habitat’s expertise in community-based development, combined with Miyamoto’s knowledge of local public policy and experience in developing receptive and inclusive feedback mechanisms, will enable us to adapt and align these efforts with the specific needs of the communities we aim to support. The project will also include comprehensive training and mentoring for selected government officials and municipalities to enhance overall project efficiency.

“Our partnership with Miyamoto Relief demonstrates our shared commitment to providing critical support to the earthquake-affected populations in Turkey,” stated Rick Hathaway, Habitat for Humanity’s Vice President for Europe and Middle East, “Informed by our global experiences in disaster response and building on our previous efforts with Miyamoto in Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines, we are confident that we can significantly impact the lives of those affected by this disaster, helping them find once more comfort and security in their own homes.”

In addition to the initially proposed program activities, Habitat for Humanity and Miyamoto Relief, are also planning to incorporate additional program design processes to extend support to thousands more affected households. This expansion includes scaling up existing activities and may incorporate new areas of support, such as urban recovery, assistance to local economies, housing, land, and property (HLP), and support to humanitarian & development peers.

Efforts in Turkey are expected to reach more than 95,000 beneficiaries through a targeted campaign aimed at promoting the reoccupation of undamaged structures, as well as by providing construction technical assistance. This intervention includes conducting damage assessments and preparing Bills of Quantities for lightly damaged and rapidly repairable structures. Additionally, 225,000 individuals will receive messages encouraging the reoccupation of undamaged structures, with outreach facilitated via social media channels. The response is funded by the Dutch NGO coalition Giro555 (Stichting Samenwerkende Hulporganisaties) of which Habitat for Humanity Netherlands is a guest member and the German NGO coalition Aktion Deutschland Hilft (ADH) of which Habitat for Humanity Germany is a member, and other donors from Germany and the Netherlands.

“We take great pride in collaborating with Habitat for Humanity to provide essential assistance to the earthquake-affected populations in Turkey,” emphasized Dr. Kit Miyamoto, President of Miyamoto Relief and Global CEO of Miyamoto International. “By combining our earthquake engineering expertise with Habitat’s experience in community-driven recovery, we are confident in our ability to make a substantial impact in the affected areas, fostering long-term resilience within the communities.”

To learn more about Habitat’s disaster risk reduction and response programs around the world, please visit: www.habitat.org/our-work/disaster-response

About Habitat for Humanity

Driven by the vision that everyone needs a decent place to live, Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 as a grassroots effort on a community farm in southern Georgia. The Christian housing organization has since grown to become a leading global nonprofit working in local communities across all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. Families and individuals in need of a hand partner up with Habitat for Humanity to build or improve a place they can call home. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers and pay an affordable mortgage. Through financial support, volunteering or adding a voice to support affordable housing, everyone can help families achieve the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build better lives for themselves. Through shelter, we empower. To learn more, visit habitat.org.

About Miyamoto Relief

Miyamoto Global Disaster Relief (Miyamoto Relief)’s mission is to apply state-of-the-art engineering expertise to return hope to and sustain life in the most marginalized and at-risk communities worldwide. Miyamoto Relief works with local partners to co-design and implement technical solutions before, during, and after a disaster. As a not-for-profit organization, Miyamoto Relief provides pro-bono or at-cost engineering services through Miyamoto International, technical partners and student engineers. The organization repairs and seismically strengthens vulnerable schools, cultural heritage sites and other life-sustaining infrastructure around the world. To learn more, visit miyamotorelief.org.