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Children continue to struggle with mental health issues 100 days after the Syria-Türkiye earthquake

It has been 100 days since the devastating earthquakes ravaged Türkiye and Syria on 6 February 2023. World Vision recently conducted a Disaster Impact Assessment in 5 districts of Southeast Türkiye, surveying 528 Syrian and Turkish children affected by the earthquake. The worrying results revealed lasting mental health impacts on children, with 55% of them saying they regularly felt upset when remembering the event and 56.5% experiencing unwanted images and thoughts.

The assessment also surveyed caregivers, indicating that many continue to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Nearly 50% reported regular nightmares, and 33% felt anger, guilt, and shame when recalling the events of 6 February. One mother in Hatay said, “When I felt the earthquake, I thought about throwing my child out the window to save him, and I always blamed myself for that.”

In Northwest Syria, over 81% of the people surveyed by World Vision in the aftermath of the earthquakes were experiencing fear and severe distress. Even before the earthquakes, a worrying number of young people and children in Northwest Syria were already experiencing symptoms of PTSD and suicidal ideation. As the region begins the long road to recovery, World Vision urges the international community not to forget the people affected by these tragic events and to continue offering support.

Eleanor Monbiot, Regional Leader for the Middle East and Eastern Europe at World Vision, emphasised the extensive recovery needed: “Good progress has been made, but it will take years, if not decades, to rebuild and restore lives in the earthquake-stricken communities. With 17 million people affected, over 50,000 people killed, and 4 million buildings destroyed, we must not forget these children and families as they continue to grapple with the long-lasting effects of this disaster.”

“To date, World Vision has already reached 450,000 people through its earthquake response. We plan to continue this important work to reach over a million people, 700,000 of whom will be in Northwest Syria,” said Monbiot.

Syrian and Turkish children affected by the earthquake continue to struggle with mental health issues.

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