Press Release

UNDP and UK join forces to ease waste management burden in earthquake zone

28 April 2023

UNDP RR Louisa Vinton speaking to a microphone
Photo: © UNDP/Bora Akbay
  • Kilis receives new street-sweeper to help cope with influx of thousands of earthquake survivors

Ankara, 28 April 2023 – With the delivery of a new street-sweeping vehicle to Kilis municipality, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Kingdom have launched a US$1.9 million program to meet urgent needs of Turkish communities affected by the earthquakes of 6 February 2023. UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton presented the new vehicle to Kilis Mayor Servet Ramazan on 27 April 2023. The city also received 110 waste containers and 200 packages of sanitary and cleaning supplies for vulnerable households. A “garbage taxi” – a small garbage truck designed to navigate the narrow streets of Kilis – is also on the way.

Although Kilis escaped the massive destruction experienced by the neighboring provinces, it bore the brunt of the earthquake disaster in a different way, as tens of thousands of survivors from neighboring regions took refuge in the city. This is not the first time Kilis has offered shelter to such a large influx of people. During the refugee crisis triggered by civil war across the border in Syria, the population of Kilis surged from 120,000 to more than 220,000. Before the earthquakes, on a per capital basis, Kilis hosted the highest share of Syrians under temporary protection of any municipality in Türkiye. Now the earthquake has pushed the municipal population to nearly 300,000. 

“We salute the sustained generosity of Kilis, a proud city with ancient roots,” said UNDP’s Vinton. “We see from the example of Kilis just how widely the impact of the earthquakes is being felt across Türkiye, as millions of people who have lost their homes and possessions seek shelter with friends and relatives in safer locations. This movement is creating major challenges for host municipalities, which are struggling to provide public services for the new arrivals. Waste management is under pressure, and this is where UNDP is keen to assist, with UK funding.” 

“Kilis has seen a 40 percent increase in its population just in the ten weeks since the disaster, and it is our most important duty to create healthy and decent living conditions for all our residents now,” said Mayor Ramazan. “We have had a close partnership with UNDP from before the earthquakes, and since then they have provided waste containers and hygiene supplies. The street sweeper delivered today will further improve our waste management, helping to keep our streets clean and healthy for everyone.”

The street-sweeping truck will provide urgently needed waste collection and street-cleaning service for a crowded city that produces an estimated 320-330 tons of garbage each day. The UNDP-UK partnership will provide similar support to other locations, including those where the earthquakes destroyed all waste management capacity. 

In addition, the UK funding will enable UNDP to set up mobile and temporary centers providing essential care services for vulnerable persons in the worst-hit provinces of Hatay, Adiyaman and Kahramanmaraş; and organize vocational training to help displaced persons begin to rebuild their lives in some of the worst-affected areas. 

The UK funding was provided in response to UNDP’s request under the UN Flash Appeal of 16 February 2023. 

“After the devastating earthquakes, the UK responded immediately to the Turkish government’s request for humanitarian support,” said British Ambassador Jill Morris. “The UK government launched its fastest humanitarian response in its history. Our search and rescue teams were on the scene within 72 hours, and a UK medical team treated over 18,000 people. In addition, we have helped deliver over 534 tons of aid to Türkiye and Syria. We are continuing our support to the international response, working with UN agencies. We hope that the street sweeping truck provided with our funding will help ease the waste management burden on the city.”

The February earthquakes struck an area of 110,000 sq km across southern Türkiye, killing more than 50,700 people, displacing 3.3 million (more than 20 percent of the region’s total population) and destroying more than 313,000 buildings. The Türkiye Earthquakes Recovery and Reconstruction Assessment (TERRA), an analysis of the disaster’s financial impact conducted by the Turkish Government with support from UNDP, the UN, the EU and the World Bank, estimated the total damages and losses caused by the earthquakes at US$103.6 billion. 

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