Our Minister of Family and Social Services, Derya Yanık, said, “We have done and are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of children, to identify them, to deliver them to their families, to complete their treatment, and then to take them into state care if there is no adult who can provide any care and supervision obligation. We especially ask our nation to be comfortable for persons with disabilities, older persons, and children and to contact us in case of any need.”
Minister Derya Yanık visited the Psychosocial Support Children's Playground established in the Orhanlı Tent City in the Defne district of Hatay. Minister Yanık, who drew pictures by chatting with children and made patterns from play dough, watched a theatre show with the little ones.
Minister Yanık, who met with the earthquake victims hosted in the tent city and wished them well, toured the activity tents of public institutions and civil society organizations for children.
Minister Derya Yanık also received information about the works from Burdur Governor Ali Arslantaş, who was assigned to the district due to the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş. Later, Minister Yanık, who went to the Antakya Child Support Centre (ÇODEM), wished the staff well.
Minister Yanık, who examined the in-kind aid warehouse of the Disaster Emergency Social Assistance (ASYA) teams in Antakya Furniture Specialized Industrial Site (Mobilyacılar İhtisas Sanayi Sitesi), was informed about the work by Erzurum Governor Okay Memiş, who was appointed as the coordinator in the city, and Mehmet Demircioğlu, Director General of Social Assistances.
Minister Derya Yanık later visited the tent city in Antakya where the earthquake victims were settled. Making a press statement after the visit, Minister Yanık said that since the beginning of the earthquake, they have continued to serve with 4 thousand 95 personnel, 748 vehicles and 487 aircraft within the framework of in-kind aid activities.
Stating that there are 67 in-kind donation warehouses in the earthquake zone, as well as 16 warehouses close to the border gates, Minister Yanık said:
“To date, the number of trucks arriving only at the in-kind donation depots of our Ministry is 15,501. Some of these are donations in kind from domestic and some from abroad. As a child of this nation, I would like to thank all the benevolent people who sent donations, to international organizations, to volunteers, to everyone who supported us at every stage, from search and rescue to donations in kind.”
Reminding that there are 203 social markets in the earthquake area, Minister Derya Yanık said: "There may be cases where our citizens cannot reach our social markets due to old age, disability or living in a more rural area. For this purpose, we are providing the necessary materials and consumables directly to our citizens by driving our 10 trucks around the areas where our citizens live, as mobile social market."
Stating that to date, 2 million 750 thousand blankets, 650 thousand bed quilts, nearly 280 thousand electrical heaters, 1 million 850 thousand food parcels have been distributed in 62 different items, Minister Yanık said: "As the need arises, of course, we will start to procure and distribute consumables."
Minister Derya Yanık reminded that after the earthquake, they transferred 271 million liras of cash support to 10 provinces and 2 districts through the Social Assistance and Solidarity Foundation, "Afterwards, we transferred our cash support of 675 million lira to a thousand three foundations across the country."
Noting that within the scope of psychosocial support activities in the region, over 1 million 125 thousand one-to-one meetings were held with 3 thousand 785 employees and 3 thousand 792 officials at the evacuation points where earthquake victims went, Minister Yanık said that a 2-year Action Plan on Psychosocial Support was created in this direction.
Minister Yanık stated that they also continue to work for persons with disabilities and older persons, and said: "As we know that there are citizens with hearing impairment among earthquake-affected citizens, 120 sign language interpreters continue to provide service to them.”
“We are doing our best for earthquake-affected children to look to the future with confidence”
Minister Derya Yanık stated that they did their best to ensure that the children of earthquake victims could look to the future with confidence and continued as follows:
“We quickly created our system for the care and supervision of our earthquake survivor children from the first day and we provide them with the necessary support. Of course, the most important topic among our earthquake-stricken children is unaccompanied children. Unaccompanied minors are children without a parent or close relative, an adult to care for and supervise. Therefore, if children are not accompanied by their parents or an adult to care for and supervise them, it is the state that should take care of them.”
Minister Yanık stated that they took care of the children from the first day and said:
“Currently, the number of unaccompanied children registered in our system is 1912. We have reunited 1582 of these children with their families. We have 230 children followed up in the hospital. We have 100 children that we have taken to the institutions of our ministry. We have 82 children whose identity is unknown. Although some of these 82 children are at the age to express themselves in hospitals, some of them are still under treatment in hospitals in an unconscious manner, and unfortunately, they are children in the 0-1, 0-2 age group, at an age that is too young to express themselves. With other identification opportunities, we are trying to identify these children and convey their information to their families. Again, unfortunately, we also provided the information that 234 of our children, whose burials took place in hospitals or which we later identified with DNA matching, died, and we shared this with their families.”
"May our nation stay in peace"
Indicating that despite all kinds of disinformation about children, they are working carefully to ensure that they are cared for and taken care of, so that they can have all kinds of opportunities, Yanık said:
“First of all, we have done, are doing, and will do everything we can to ensure their safety, identify them, deliver them to their families, complete their treatment, and then, if there is no adult who can provide any care and supervision obligation, to be taken into the care of the state. In this sense, we especially ask our nation to be of good cheer regarding persons with disabilities, older persons and children and to contact us in case of any need.”
Yanık, repeating her wish for everyone to get well soon, said: "I wish God's mercy on our citizens who lost their lives. I offer my condolences to our nation. Unfortunately, Hatay is the province most affected by this earthquake, but we are a nation that knows how to get up from where it fell. Hopefully, we will bandage the wounds of this earthquake together and continue running from where we left off."