Water Mission and World Central Kitchen Join Forces in Turkey

Guest Post by Water Mission

On February 6, 2023, a deadly magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey near the Syrian border, followed by aftershocks as large as 7.5 magnitude. Tragically, these earthquakes killed more than 50,000 men, women, and children in the region. They also caused significant damage to infrastructure, destroying many homes, businesses, hospitals, and utilities. More than 9 million people were directly affected by this disaster—the country’s largest in over 80 years. As a result of the destruction, 3 million men, women, and children lost their homes and became displaced within the country.

The Turkish government, along with local and global humanitarian organizations, immediately began constructing temporary camps to house those displaced by earthquakes. Temporary kitchens and medical clinics were also built to meet critical food and healthcare needs. While the camps provided temporary shelter for families waiting for more permanent housing to become available, those staying in these camps relied on others to meet their most basic needs. Access to safe water for drinking, cooking, and bathing was one of the most critical.

A Water Mission team deployed to Turkey within days following the earthquakes to serve those in need. The organization also shipped five emergency water treatment systems, courtesy of FedEx, capable of producing 10,000 gallons of safe water daily, along with thousands of water quality testing and hygiene kits. The disaster response team quickly assessed the situation in the affected regions and tested water quality to determine what safe water solutions were most viable in each context. Water Mission developed a strategy to provide access to safe water in camps, kitchens, and clinics—all of which were serving people displaced by the earthquakes.

For six months, Water Mission actively served people in Turkey by providing safe water in camps, kitchens, and clinics. This is where the need was greatest following the earthquakes and where they determined they could have the greatest impact. Thanks to the support of their partners like FedEx, Water Mission installed a total of 19 safe water systems that are impacting more than 62,000 men, women, and children in four provinces across Turkey.

One of the organizations Water Mission partnered with in Turkey is World Central Kitchen. World Central Kitchen met a critical need following the earthquakes by cooking hot meals on a large scale and delivering them to 26,000 people each day. Feeding that many people required 1,000-2,000 liters of safe water daily to cook the food. Their existing water storage tank was damaged by the earthquakes and leaked when the water level hit a certain point, limiting its capacity. Water Mission installed a safe water system that treated water by filtering with sand and carbon media, followed by disinfection. They also installed multiple storage tanks, increasing World Central Kitchen's capacity to feed those in need. In total, World Central Kitchen served more than 20.2 million meals across Türkiye and Syria (17.2 million meals in Türkiey and 3 million meals in Syria), cooking out of 14 Relief Kitchens, and distributing to 875+ recipient locations.

FedEx supported both organizations with in-kind shipping needs to safely transport relief items to the affected areas as part of the company’s FedEx Cares “Delivering for Good” initiative, in which FedEx lends its global network and unparalleled logistics expertise to organizations with mission-critical needs and helps communities before, during, and after crises.