Ministry of Interior – Disaster and Emergency Management Authority – AFAD (Turkey)
Turkey ranks third in the world in terms of earthquake-related casualties and eighth with regard to the total number of people affected. Every year, the country experiences at least one 5 magnitude earthquake – which renders the proper management and coordination of disasters absolutely crucial. Turkey’s disaster policy dates starts in 1939 back to face the aftermath of the Erzincan earthquake (33.000 deaths and 100.000 injured). Two decades later, the Turkish Parliament adopted the Law on Precautions to be Taken due to Disaster Affecting Public Life and Assistance to be Provided (No.7269) in order to fill the long-existing legal void.
The legislative effort on disaster continued with the 1988 by-law on the Principles of the Organization and Planning of Emergency Assistance Regarding Disasters. The 1999 Marmara earthquake, however, marked the turning point in the area of disaster management and coordination.
This devastating disaster clearly demonstrated the need to reform disaster management and compelled the country to establish a single government institution to single-handedly coordinate and exercise legal authority in cases of disaster and emergencies. In line with this approach, the Turkish Parliament passed Law No.5902 in 2009 to form the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) under the Prime Ministry and abolish various agencies under whose jurisdiction the issue previously fell.
Finally the Presidential Decree No. 4 of 2018 the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority re-formed as an agency under the Ministry of Interior.
AFAD is an institution working to prevent disasters and minimize disaster-related damages, plan and coordinate post-disaster response, and promote cooperation among various government agencies. In this regard, AFAD introduced a novel disaster management model which prioritizes Turkey’s transition from crisis management to risk management – which came to be known as the Integrated Disaster Management System. AFAD currently has 81 provincial branches across Turkey in addition to 11 search and rescue units.
At the international level, AFAD completed successful missions to provide humanitarian assistance to over 50 countries in 5 continents. AFAD remains committed to developing necessary strategies and serving people in need at home and abroad.