More than 2000 people lost their lives as a result of the severe earthquake in eastern Turkey on August 19, 1966. Many more were seriously injured and tens of thousands lost their property. On August 26, 1966, a THW relief mission to Turkey started. 30 volunteers from the local sections in Bonn, Cologne and Dortmund took part, primarily working at the devastated hospital and administration buildings in Hinis.more: Fifty years after the 1966 earthquake in Turkey …
The history of the country, personal experiences, trauma and non-violence – these were the main issues during the “Peace Summer Camp” which took place in mid-July near Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina. More than 100 young people from all the country’s ethnic and religious groups took advantage of the event for sharing and exchange. Nine THW international specialists from Bavaria set up the infrastructure for the one-week educational youth encounter in the Igman mountains.
On behalf of the German government, the Technische Hilfswerk (THW) is providing assistance to establish refugee and transit camps for Syrian refugees in the autonomous Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq. This support began in 2013, and currently the THW is assisting six camps. During a four-day visit, Gerd Friedsam, Vice-President of the THW, gained an impression of the work performed by THW operatives. Particularly interesting was a trainee programme for new international volunteers.
Integration, helping people to help themselves, and meeting immediate needs – three key aspects of the contributions the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) is making to benefit refugees. On World Refugee Day, THW President Albrecht Broemme declares: “The THW is happy to identify with the theme of this year’s international day of action: We Stand #WithRefugees.”
Today, the Airbus Helicopters Foundation expanded its humanitarian outreach by signing a high-level agreement on heliborne airlift support for the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW), which coordinates and carries out operations at international natural disaster sites and in other emergency situations. The agreement was signed during the International Aeronautics and Space exhibition ILA by Klaus Buchmüller, Head of International Division and Wolfgang Schoder, CEO of Airbus Helicopters Germany.
In the Middle East, THW operatives have been providing assistance to refugees and internally displaced people (IDP) since 2013, and in 2014 they also started providing aid to refugees in Germany. Worldwide there are 60 million displaced people fleeing war, conflict and persecution. The numbers were never as high as they are today. Many have fled to Europe, but even more remain within the borders of their country – internally displaced.
What we take for granted today and has traditionallz been implemented, was a rarity 60 years ago: In 1956 the American Arthur Brasgalla was the first "foreigner" to join THW. Mr Brasgalla, American sergeant First Class in the US Army, became a volunteer in THW's local section of Passau.
Almost 60 millions of people across the world are displaced or have involuntarily left their home. The reasons why people flee their country are manifold. Volunteers from the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) have contributed their share to improve the situation of refugees in Germany and the Middle East. The multitude of competences, which are required from THW, ranges from setting up tents to logistic tasks.
Refugee aid is a challenging task and one of the largest operations in the history of THW. About 13,200 THW volunteers have been deployed so far to take up the challenge. In October, about 220,000 refugees came to Europe across the Mediterranean. As yet this has been the largest number to be recorded in one month. The volunteers are preparing many refugee shelters for the winter.
Around 11,500 THW volunteers have been providing refugee assistance in more than 300 locations across Germany. They have put in more than 106,000 hours of work, making it one of the largest THW operations in Germany since the organisation was founded. Thanks to its wide array of capabilities, THW can provide diverse support to the requesting authorities – federal states, districts, cities, town councils and aid agencies.
More than 1800 fatalities, hundreds of thousands of refugees and 80 per cent of New Orleans flooded: Hurricane Katrina, which hit the south coast of the USA on 29 August 2005, was one of the worst natural disasters in the country's history. The German government instructed its technical relief agency, the Technisches Hilfswerk (THW), to step in, and ten days later the THW had its first heavy-duty pumps up and running in New Orleans. Six weeks later some 130 THW workers had pumped away five million cubic metres of water – enough to fill 2000 Olympic swimming pools.
In the last weeks, hundreds of volunteers from THW have repeatedly supported the construction of refugee camps in Germany. In many Federal Länder the capacities for emergency accommodation still have to be expanded at short notice. As part of administrative assistance, the volunteers perform a wide range of tasks.
Today the Federal Agency for Technical Relief is carrying out a relief goods transport to Sierra Leone. Besides THW equipment, goods for the German Red Cross are also transported.
“Good and solid training is the basis for competent help in an emergency case. Therefore, we gladly pass on our THW-standards”, said THW’s President, Mr Albrecht Broemme, in Bonn. That was the starting signal for the first of three basic trainings provided in Germany to Tunisian volunteers. The training will start on Sunday in the local section of Sinzig. On behalf of the Foreign Office, THW supports with this training the development of honorary structures in Tunisia.
The influx of refugees from Syria to the neighbouring countries does not stop. About 100,000 refugees are living now in the camp of al Za´atari near the Syrian-Jordan border. The team of THW has been continuously working to improve the living conditions of the refugees in the tent town.
Al Za’atari, Jordan. To some extent, the living conditions of the Syrian refugees in Jordan are dramatic. Heavy rainfall and the onset of winter in the Near East have led to the worsening of the general situation. “We try our very best to make the camp more weather-proof”, says THW’s head of operations in Jordan, Ms Veronika Wolf. Near the Jordan-Syrian border, THW has supported the setting up of a refugee camp, which is meant to give shelter to up to 60,000 people.
In Bockange, France, about 300 operational staff from Germany, France and Luxemburg exercised on Thursday how to cooperate during an earthquake operation. The exercise was part of an international USAR (Urban Search and Rescue)-exercise. The large-scale exercise completed a three-day training course for managers. On behalf of Germany, THW-experts from the local sections of Saarbrücken and Heusweiler took part in the exercise.
One year ago today, an earthquake devastated Haiti which caused one of the most serious natural disasters of this century. The earthquake was at the beginning of a year which was marked by several blows of fate affecting the island state in the Caribbean: The earthquake was followed by cyclones, cholera and political unrest. Since then, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) has provided help in Haiti. After the immediate emergency help with water supply, the commitment of THW focused on sustainable relief measures.
“It’s impossible to imagine society without the THW. Its volunteers have a great reputation both abroad, where they act as our humanitarian ambassadors, and at home, where no-one will forget the pictures of the ‘blue angels’ helping to save lives during the catastrophic floods,” said Vice-Chancellor Franz Müntefering at the event “MdBs meet THW – helping together” yesterday in Berlin, which attracted more than 200 Members of the Bundestag, including the Federal Minister for Health, Ulla Schmidt, the President of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, the Vice President, Petra Pau, and SPD leader Kurt Beck.
A huge oil spill is threatening the seaside idyll of Germany’s Baltic coast. About 10,000 tonnes of heavy oil are drifting relentlessly towards the Bay of Lübeck, posing a particular threat to the area around the mouth of the River Trave. Acting on the instructions of the German Central Command for Maritime Emergencies, all available THW Technical Units Oil Pollution are being deployed to Lübeck.