The earthquake near the Turkey-Syria border has already killed over 50,000 people. World Vision’s initial assessments have shown that, in Northwest Syria:
World Vision, together with its local partners, began responding within hours of the first quake. As of the end of February, we have provided support to 41,926 people, including:
As catastrophic earthquake leaves Turkey and Syria shaken, displaced families experience yet another ordeal
On 6 February 2023, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southeastern Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), near the Syrian border. A second quake, which recorded a magnitude of 7.5, struck again just 9 hours later. Over 50,000 people have lost their lives and tens of thousands more are injured and made homeless. It is estimated that 23 million people, including 1.4 million children, are affected by the quakes. Our colleagues who experienced the earthquake themselves have told us that families are running onto the streets in the snow and are terrified.
Two of our colleagues, who have been affected by the earthquake themselves, shared with us what the earthquake was like for them and how they felt about it.
“The earthquake went for three minutes but felt like a lifetime. I live on the second floor so I had to evacuate my children and mother who is 80 years old. But the entire building was shaking I couldn’t keep my foot on the ground.”
“We are living in a state of panic, our families and people around us. At the same time, we are heartbroken knowing people’s situation especially those are who internally displaced during cold, rain and hunger. All my feelings are mixed up.”
More than just a deadly catastrophe
Turkey is the largest host country of Syrian refugees in the world, and millions of them live near the epicentre of this earthquake. Having been forced to leave their homes due to a war that has been going on since 2011, these people are now facing yet even more misery and pain, finding themselves at the centre of the world’s attention again for all the wrong reasons.
In Northwest Syria, those impacted by the earthquake have also lived through the ordeal of the decade-long war and their mental health status has long been very concerning. In the earthquake, people already living in extreme poverty have lost what little they had and the toll on their overall wellbeing is unimaginable. Infrastructure that was already limited is now overwhelmed after the earthquake, with injured patients having to line up outside emergency rooms. At least 20 medical facilities have been partially or completely damaged. Many water and sanitation facilities have also been damaged, increasing the risk of disease outbreaks such as cholera.
The strong earthquake has caused multiple buildings to collapse.
With their homes now totally destroyed, many survivors have lost everything.
Those who have lost everything in the earthquake could only use whatever they can find to keep warm in the freezing cold.
World Vision’s response
For years, World Vision has been working in the areas affected by this earthquake, providing help for Syrian children and families displaced by the war. Our staff began assessing the needs and responding in the two countries right after the earthquake. Our priority will be to provide help across various sectors, such as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), health, shelter, education and child protection, and to help them gradually rebuild their lives. Our goal is to provide assistance to 500,000 people by September 2023. Click here for the latest situation report.
As the earthquake occurred during winter, World Vision and its local partners provided fuel for hospitals and rescue teams to keep health services and rescue operations running.
World Vision is supplying heaters and fuel at temporary shelters to help people keep warm and have access to electricity.
World Vision provides blankets and bedding to help people who have lost everything to keep warm and rest.
World Vision is providing cash assistance for people to purchase supplies according to their own needs.