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Disaster Preparedness for Schools in Turkey

This innovative online disaster awareness curriculum, including self-study and teacher training, scaled nationwide and reached remote corners of Turkey.


Young Turkish students examine models that show structural safety.


50 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, and all of the most populous areas within its first and second degree Earthquake Risk Zones, needed a basic disaster awareness program for their schools. The devastating 1999 Kocaeli earthquake in Turkey had provided a wake-up call to Istanbul, which is situated in the earthquake-threatened Marmara Region. With support from the United States Agency for International Development, Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAIS/OFD), Bogaziçi University, Kandilli Observatory and the Earthquake Research Institute initiated a Disaster Preparedness Education Program (DPEP). The Program developed public education materials and an instructor training curriculum that was successfully implemented in Istanbul and 3 surrounding provinces. Once proven, the challenge was to take this program nationwide, in cooperation with the Republic of Turkey’s Ministry of Education.



GeoHazards International (GHI) joined the team in Istanbul and provided team members with an opportunity to collaborate with Turkish technical experts living in California. The bi-continental team developed a self-study, distance-learning curriculum in basic disaster awareness that could reach residents of the most remote corners of Turkey. The team also created a web-based data entry system to involve school and community-based instructors and to track the dissemination of a variety of training materials through DPEP, government agencies and non-governmental partners in each of Turkey’s provinces. GHI’s support of the team in Istanbul strengthened regional resources that are now being used to support the development of similar public education programs in Central Asia.


  • The innovative Basic Disaster Awareness Self-Study Curriculum was made available online in both Turkish and English versions.

  • A corps of 100 trained instructors remains active and engaged in 30 Turkish provinces.

  • Family Disaster Plan and Organizational Disaster Plan messages were drafted, which are useful in case of any natural hazards.

  • Classroom activities and children’s activities to reinforce disaster mitigation education were made available online.

  • Courses in Non-Structural Mitigation and Structural Awareness for Seismic Safety were integrated into Turkey’s national curriculum.

  • Web-based infrastructure support (Web Crossing) for regional workgroups in Turkey was provided and maintained by GHI.

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