Honourable Chair, Excellencies, Distinguished colleagues,
As the Deputy Head of AFAD, Turkey's disaster management authority I respectfully greet you on behalf of myself, my institution and my country.
It is a great pleasure for me to address you and let me thank our host country to gather us in this lovely city with this great organization.
We are all aware that our world is living in a time where the effects of natural and man-made disasters increase.
When climate change, which we have been talking about for years and which’ consequences we now feel in our daily lives, is added, the negative part of the picture is getting bigger and bigger. Thus, the damage caused by disasters increases exponentially.
Turkey locates in a highly dangerous geography that is heavily affected by disasters due to its geological and geographical structure and climatic characteristics. However, today, together with the effects of climate change, we encounter events such as sudden and strong floods, tornadoes that reach the land and tropical storms.
We know that this situation is similar all over the world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Turkey is developing its disaster management system in the light of its past experiences and unique management style and under the guidance of international policy documents such as the Sendai Framework Document.
The Turkish Disaster Management Strategy and Action Plan (TAYS), which will be the vision document of our country, is being prepared in line with the Sendai framework “Target E”.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Plans have been prepared by the end of 2021 in all of our 81 provinces and put into action at the beginning of 2022. If I had to elaborate on these plans, the provincial disaster risk reduction plan is a plan that includes objectives, targets and actions to reduce disaster risks in our provinces. They have been prepared;
- to live safely in our provinces,
- to reduce/prevent losses of life, property, etc that may occur due to disasters,
- to raise awareness of disaster risk reduction,
- to increase cooperation between stakeholders,
- to reduce expenditures for post-disaster response and post-disaster recovery, and
- to ensure effective use of resources.
Public institutions and organizations, local governments, the private sector, universities and non-governmental organizations are involved in the preparation process of the plans. Responsible stakeholders have been determined for each action that will reduce disaster risk in these plans.
One of the main topics for each province to discuss was the effects of climate change.
Turkey Disaster Risk Reduction Plan, TARAP, was prepared on the national level. The plan explains what will be done, how, when and by whom to reduce disaster risks. it is aimed to prevent duplicate investments in disaster risk reduction and to make cities and society more resilient to disasters. TARAP is a plan addressing all existing and new disaster risks in our country, especially climate change; including all central and local public institutions and organizations, the private sector, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, media, family and all community stakeholders, including individuals, into the system; and it is a plan that sets out the principles of legislation, technical regulation, capacity building and implementation. The Plan ensures that all gaps in this area are filled with activities to be carried out on a national scale for disaster risk reduction.
We hope that we will have the opportunity to share this plan with you this year.
It is obvious that planning alone will not bring a solution. It is critical in this context that these plans are followed by making use of the blessings of technology. While Turkey monitors the plans it has created with online systems, it also establishes systems to monitor and evaluate the Sendai Framework Document online. I would like to point out that disaster loss data, which are difficult to detect in some cases, are especially followed by this system.
As it is well known, taking precautions before disasters is the most important part of the disaster management cycle in terms of preventing loss of life and property. To this end, adopting a risk-focused and integrated disaster management approach and meticulously dealing with all phases of disasters are of great importance. Local authorities, therefore, have significant responsibilities in preparatory works and risk reduction efforts aimed at making our cities more resilient. As AFAD, we encourage our local authorities to work on reducing disaster risks and become more resilient to disasters by joining the making cities resilient campaign of UNISDR.
Ladies and gentlemen,
2021 has been a challenging year for our country in terms of disasters. We are experiencing the effects of climate change with tropic storms that we have never seen before in our country, hoses reaching the land, and extreme forest fires. Last year was recorded as one of the hottest years, in addition to the Covid-19 pandemic. Within a month, we encountered flash floods in all corners of the country. Response time to each of these disasters lasted approximately at least 2 weeks for the acute phase. Also, in 16 days, we experienced 299 forest fires in 54 cities. While 95 people lost their lives in these disasters, 15 people are still missing.
Considering that these disasters occurred in a short time, we can say that we use a capacity close to the entire capacity of the country in this short time.
One of the common points of disasters that make 2021 a difficult year is that those disasters are climate change-related disasters.
Half of the year's total rain fell in one-day or the forest areas were as dry as they have ever been. These are direct effects of climate change.
An important development experienced in Turkey, especially after the summer disasters of 2021 and the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, is that climate change began to be addressed at the ministry level.
As you know, Turkey expects a reduction of its greenhouse gas emission by up to 21% by 2030. Also, the new ministry, the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change is aiming to reach the goal of net-zero emissions by 2053. In this context, preparations for the 2050 Climate Change Strategy and 2030 Action Plan have begun.
After the establishment of the ministry, climate change gained weight on the country's agenda and paved the way for the preparation of the Law on Climate Change. The law envisages the following:
- Increasing the amount of renewable energy in the sector,
- The sectoral obligations by years,
- Transportation targets and supporting those who invest in line with these targets,
- Providing additional financial resources and tax advantages,
- Penalizing those who produce excess emissions related to the Emissions Trading System,
- Encouraging and supporting those who produce fewer emissions,
- Increasing green areas,
- Supporting projects in terms of adaptation to climate change locally
- Supporting the industry with technology,
- Participation of young people and women.
I know that all institutions in Turkey will do their best to achieve the determined targets mentioned above.
Since 2009 when AFAD was founded, Turkey’s approach to disasters has not changed. To prevent the adverse effects of disasters, we must channel our resources to disaster prevention and disaster risk reduction activities instead of trying to recover the adverse effects of disasters. We believe that our work together on disaster risk reduction must rest on the foundation of a people-centric, human rights-based approach that is inclusive of the most vulnerable in our society, such as persons with disabilities, refugees and the elderly.
Awareness and education are issues repeatedly highlighted under all priorities of the Sendai Framework Document. Turkey declared 2021 as the year of training and aimed to provide awareness training to 50 million people. I would like to express with pleasure that Turkey; with the participation of many ministries, universities, professional organizations, trade unions and non-governmental organizations, exceeded this target and succeeded in reaching approximately 57 million people. Face-to-face and online training has been carried out at every point that could be possible; schools, hospitals, mosques, public squares, shopping malls, meetings etc.
Humanitarian aid activities such as emergency humanitarian aid, search and rescue activities, in-kind / cash assistance, fire response with aircraft and wounded and sick patient evacuation have been carried out in more than 50 countries on 5 continents by AFAD, Turkey. The basic services such as food, health and education of the people in the safe zone established in the regions of the Olive Branch and the Euphrates Shield in Syria are covered in cooperation with the local councils with the contributions of the relevant ministries. As a result of these activities, over 500,000 Syrians have returned to safe areas from Turkey.
According to the 2021 humanitarian aid report, Turkey is the country that provides the most aid in terms of its gross domestic product with 8.04 billion dollars.
Turkey has been providing aid to the people of Ukraine since the first days of the crisis.
Our humanitarian aid activities were carried out at the Romanian Siret Border Point, Poland and Moldova border points and also in Lviv Ukraine.
Until now, a total of 97 humanitarian aid trucks have been sent to Ukraine and Moldova containing, medicine, hygiene kit, food, sheltering equipment and disaster bag by Turkey under the coordination of AFAD. We sent a total of 2.500 tons of material with these trucks.
A Mobile Kitchen Truck, provide hot meals, first at the Romanian-Ukrainian Siret Border point between 11-18 March and still providing in the city centre of Lviv since 20th of March. To date, hot meals have been distributed to approximately 108 thousand people in total.
Approximately 630 thousand/unit humanitarian aid materials have been distributed in Romania Siret border point, Moldova Chisinau and Ukraine Lviv cities so far. In addition, 15,120 disaster and emergency kits and hygiene kits including family tents, beds, blankets and first aid kits were delivered.
Also, the shipment of 24 vehicles of humanitarian aid materials to Ukraine from Georgia was facilitated by AFAD.
Last but not least, in these difficult times, we will continue to work with all our strength to alleviate the suffering of the Ukrainian people.
Thank you all!