Committed to restoring lives of millions
On 6 February 2023, a devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake, followed by multiple powerful aftershocks, struck southeastern Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye), near the Syrian border. Over 50,000 people, including 7,000 Syrian refugees, lost their lives. It is estimated that over 9 million people have been affected by the earthquakes, with 3 million of them displaced.
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, together with our local partners, started assessing the needs within hours of the first quake, and began responding in the two countries on that very day.
World Vision’s response
Within the first week, we were able to provide fuel, hot meals and medical assistance for about 10,000 people who lost their homes in the harsh winter. By the end of the first month, we were able to assist over 40,000 people in meeting their needs, including providing shelter and psychosocial support to children affected.
In the months that followed, we expanded our work to help families and communities rebuild their lives. We had initially aimed to reach 1 million people in the first year, but thanks to the generous support of donors from Hong Kong and worldwide, as of January 2024, we and our partners have already provided support for over 2.4 million people, including:
Our response has been ongoing ever since it was first launched.
World Vision runs education centres to help provide affected children with opportunities to continue their education.
World Vision has provided a variety of water, sanitation and hygiene interventions, such as providing water through water stations and water trucking, as well as providing toilets and other sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of diseases.
World Vision has provided a variety of health and nutrition services to help those who have been wounded physically or mentally, such as primary health care, physical rehabilitation and mental health support.
Current situation and needs
In Turkey, approximately half of the people displaced by the earthquake have returned to their homes, while tens of thousands continue to live in informal tented settlements where many basic needs remain, including access to adequate water supply and sanitation, psychosocial support services to deal with trauma, and more. Turkey has remained as 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 after the earthquake. Poverty, as well as limited social services support, mean that their journey to recovery will be long and full of challenges.
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. The earthquake brought severe impact and damages to the communities. Tens of thousands of buildings, schools and health facilities were destroyed. More than 850,000 people – 20 per cent of the population - had their homes damaged. With temporary reception centres due to close over the coming months, many displaced people living in poverty are expected to return to their original location and continue to stay in informal tented settlements.
Children and families living in Northwest Syria need continued humanitarian assistance such as shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as psychosocial support. Even before the earthquake, many children in conflict-affected areas were already showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and alarming suicidal thoughts. Continuous care and support in every aspect of their lives will be instrumental in their recovery.
World Vision has been responding to the Syria Crisis and providing support to affected communities since the very beginning. In 2024, we will continue to provide recovery support in the aftermath of the earthquake. However, this will no longer be a stand-alone response. Rather, it will be integrated into our existing, long-term “Syria Crisis Response”, providing holistic support for people in need. From now until 2026, we will focus on building the resilience of children and families in Syria and nearby countries, providing them with child protection, psychosocial, livelihood, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), nutrition, and education support, and journeying alongside them amid adversities.