Tuesday February 7, 2023

Islamic Relief has delivered lifesaving aid to thousands of earthquake survivors in Turkiye and Syria . As the number of dead and injured continues to rise by the hour, our teams on the ground say there aren’t enough graves to bury the sheer number of bodies.

In northwest Syria, Islamic Relief aid workers are delivering critical medical supplies to hospitals and health facilities that are inundated with casualties, and distributing blankets and mattresses to survivors sheltering in makeshift reception centres. Many thousands of families are now homeless in freezing winter temperatures, and children and parents have been separated in the chaos.

In southern Turkiye, Islamic Relief today distributed food to thousands of survivors in Gaziantep.

Ahmed Mahmoud, Islamic Relief’s Head of Mission in Syria and Turkiye, said:

“The scale of the disaster is getting bigger by the hour and it’s a race against time to get aid to people. Thousands of people are dead and hundreds of thousands are homeless. So many buildings are damaged or destroyed, and people have now been trapped under the rubble for 36 hours. There aren’t enough graves to bury all the bodies and relief teams are running out of body bags.   

“Our team is working tirelessly around the clock to reach as many people as they can, all while trying to keep their own families safe. We’ve managed to get vital aid to thousands of people so far, but the needs are enormous and so much more aid is needed. People have lost their homes and everything they have and are now stuck outside and scared of freezing to death. People urgently need food and shelter.

“The needs are huge everywhere, but especially in Syria as the earthquake comes on top of more than a decade of crisis which has destroyed vital infrastructure and left millions in extreme poverty. They’re living in poor, overcrowded conditions which made the earthquake damage even greater. People in the northwest of Syria rely on aid coming across the border from Turkiye but now the earthquake has damaged roads, making it harder to deliver aid. There are widespread fuel shortages and electricity cuts, and it’s extremely challenging to respond. It is vital that the international community ensures aid gets to people in Syria as well as Turkiye.

“People in Syria who last week were crying because they still live in tents after many years of crisis and displacement were yesterday crying with relief that they survived the earthquake in their tents, while thousands perished in overcrowded apartment blocks that came crashing down. These communities have largely been forgotten by the international community and they need our care and compassion now more than ever.”

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