In today’s world where conflicts and disasters affect millions of people around the world each day, conflicts have become prolonged and humanitarian crises span over an average of nine years.  Situations of war, famine, natural disasters, problems affecting natural life and global warming and the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected all aspects of life over the past year, have illustrated the importance that humanitarian aid efforts carry for individuals, societies and states.  

Public institutions, non-governmental organizations, and international actors operating in this field have maintained their efforts to alleviate human suffering and to prevent the emergence of new causes of suffering in line with their expertise and capacities.

Although some difficulties in responding to disasters in a timely manner are now more easily overcome due to means of communication and transportation, the necessity of long-term assistance brought by disasters further challenge and strain humanitarian aid resources and employees. Putting their lives forth all over the world in order to relieve the pains of others, humanitarian workers and volunteers now fulfill their duties with even greater responsibility and sacrifice. One of the most important foundations of humanitarian aid is for disasters not to turn into catastrophes. Timely and rapid humanitarian aid alone is not enough. Rather, endeavors to create resilience and sustainable humanitarian living conditions for the ongoing effects of climate change and other difficulties such as the COVID-19 pandemic have become increasingly important. 

At this stage, there arises a need to focus on disaster preparedness and provide individuals with the knowledge and skills to build resilience at the individual and societal levels. Based on all efforts towards forming these gains and reducing the impacts of disasters, there exists a need for a knowledge base to be produced by interdisciplinary studies.

The formation of research units on pre- and post-disaster studies within institutions and organizations working in humanitarian aid in recent years is also an indication that this need is now felt in closely. Building a disaster-ready and resilient society will only be possible by conducting methodological analyzes, examining and evaluating disasters, producing data and information and developing policies based on these findings. 

Prepared by the Turkish Red Crescent, the Turkey Humanitarian Action Overview 2020 highlights significant developments in the field of humanitarian aid in Turkey that occurred in 2020 and provides a systematic analysis of these developments. As president of the TRC, I would personally like to thank all researchers and institutions that have contributed to this Overview. More, I extend my gratitude to everyone, including the Red Crescent family, who have contributed with their hearts and efforts to humanitarian aid efforts. 

Kerem KINIK, PhD, MD
President, Turkish Red Crescent Society

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