Thursday February 16, 2023

Ten days since Türkiye and Syria were hit by major earthquakes, Islamic Relief continues supporting those whose lives have been devastated by the disaster.

More than 41,000 people have been confirmed dead, and thousands of buildings have been destroyed.

As one of the few international relief agencies already on the ground in both southern Türkiye and northwest Syria, Islamic Relief was able to respond quickly. Our teams were delivering aid within hours of the earthquakes.

We began by distributing food, water and shelter to survivors in both countries, while also supplying hospitals and health centres in Syria with essential medical supplies to treat the wounded.

As we continue this essential relief work, Islamic Relief is now also helping to clear rubble from key roads in Syria, making it easier for aid to get to those who need it most.

Please consider donating to our Turkey/Syria Earthquake Appeal to enable us to continue this vital work.

Supporting people in Türkiye

Authorities say more than 30 million people are affected, and the economic impact of the disaster is reported to be in the billions of dollars. More than 35,000 people in Türkiye have died – although incredibly some survivors continue to be pulled out from under the rubble.

Gradually life is returning in some areas, with some services gradually resuming, shops and markets reopening, and families starting to return to homes marked safe by authorities.

However ongoing water and gas cuts make it hard for people to keep warm as temperatures drop below zero during the night. People sheltering in cars and open spaces are at risk from hypothermia.

We’ve been working in the worst affected areas in Gaziantep, Kahramanmaraş and Hatay. In the first 10 days Islamic Relief‘s work in Türkiye has supported 15,114 households by:

  • Distributing food parcels including essentials such as oil, rice and sugar
  • Providing high-nutrition emergency food such as dates and juice
  • Supplying blankets to keep people warm in the freezing nights

As shops in Türkiye start to reopen we are supplying more people with cash vouchers instead of food aid, so they can buy what they need most from the local markets.

Supporting people in Syria

As our Head of Mission says, “What I have seen in Syria this week is like nothing I have experienced before – the sheer horror of a major earthquake on top of all that people have suffered through 12 years of conflict, displacement and neglect.”

In Syria, many of those affected by the earthquake were already extremely vulnerable. More than a decade of crisis has left many families displaced and in poverty, and infrastructure crumbling.

It has been more than 100 years since the country has seen an earthquake like this. More than 5,700 people are reported to have died so far – a number which is expected to rise as the rubble is cleared.

Reception centres for homeless families are severely overcrowded. Demand for tents has outstripped the available supply, forcing several families to crowd into one tent. Freezing winter temperatures – dropping to minus 5 degrees Celsius at night – mean many people are getting sick.

Water supplies have been damaged or contaminated, leading to growing fears of outbreaks of water-borne diseases in a country already grappling with a cholera epidemic.

Islamic Relief has been working inside northern Syria for many years, so our teams were on the ground responding immediately. In the first 10 days we’ve supported 377,517 people across Aleppo and Idlib governorates, by:

  • Providing medical supplies, beds and mattresses to hospitals and health centres, so they can treat more of the casualties
  • Distributing dignity kits for women, as well as nutritious milk and nappies/diapers for infants
  • Clearing rubble from blocked roads, to help aid get through
  • Supplying villages with clean water to prevent more outbreaks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid
  • Working with local blacksmiths to produce makeshift tents, as there are not enough available locally to meet the massive needs

We are now also planning for the next phase of recovery, including repairing damaged schools and water and sewage systems.

Islamic Relief urgently needs your help to support those affected by the earthquakes to meet their immediate and ongoing needs. Donate to our Earthquake Appeal now.

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