After the 1999 Marmara earthquake in Turkey, NGOs and volunteers participated in disaster relief efforts, ranging from constructing tents to psychological support they carried out projects related to their fields of expertise. During that time, many of the NGOs collaborated with various public institutions and international organizations, sharing experiences they gained in the field. Building on these experiences following the Van Earthquake in 2011 and more recently during the Syrian humanitarian crisis NGOs have taken a more active role in humanitarian support for communities.
The work and focus of NGOs vary, but their efforts are conducted efficiently and more effectively because they can target groups and respond to emergencies quicker and with more flexibility. In addition, NGOs are adding protection and prevention techniques into their practices. These developments have allowed NGOs to become a critical part of the disaster management process.
However, there are some challenges which reduce the impact of response and support due to ineffective use of resources and initiative such as: lack of information and limited flow of information; lack of coordination among NGOs and public institutions and support initiatives and individuals; lack of access for decision making processes; and finally disinformation about internationally recognized standards.
In order to contribute towards reduction of disaster-related risks and post-disaster damages in Turkey, we recommend the establishment of the Civil Society Disaster Platform (CSDP) and bring it into action. Therefore, CSDP was established in May 2013, as a result of collaboration between Support to Life, the Neighborhood Disaster Volunteers Foundation (MAG), and Mavi Kalem Social Support and Solidarity Society (MK). CSDP aims to decrease disaster risks and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of disaster response efforts.