On Monday 6th February 2023, two deadly earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria.
A first 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck before dawn near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, home to 2 million people, including around 500,000 Syrian refugees. A 7.5-magnitude earthquake rocked the same area hours later. It is estimated that over 50,000 people have died across Turkey and Syria. Thousands of buildings have completely collapsed.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) maintain some 23 million people, including 1.4 million children, are likely to be at-risk in both Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks. An estimated 1 million people in the affected regions are homeless. The scale of need and devastation is vast.
How is World Jewish Relief responding to the Turkey-Syria Earthquakes?
World Jewish Relief launched an emergency appeal immediately and is responding in Turkey and Syria with our long-term partner the International Blue Crescent (IBC). We have been working with IBC for several years to respond in Afghanistan, supporting the Uyghur community stranded in Turkey, and more recently to the floods in Pakistan.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquakes, we helped IBC respond to urgent needs from their Kilis site in southern Turkey, close to the border with Syria. Initial needs assessments indicated food and shelter for those exposed to freezing winter temperatures.
- We have provided 9,000 meal kits, feeding 3,000 people with 3 meals a day. We have also provided 500 blankets to those sheltering outside and provided an additional 500 blankets to those in Şanlıurfa
- We are prioritising people who have lost their homes, and those with young children, providing shelter from the cold, emergency food packages, basic non-food supplies and medicine.
As the crisis evolves, we are helping IBC to expand their operations across the affected area in Turkey and non-government-controlled regions of northern Syria where international aid has been limited.
- We are supporting those in Kırıkhan, Turkey, through IBC’s community centre which is providing psychosocial and protection support, hot meals and other ready-to-eat food, hygiene kits, and primary healthcare by trained professionals.
- In Turkey, we have funded the supply of 22 prefabricated homes, each with their own toilet and shower. These shelters are far safer and longer lasting than tents.
- We are helping IBC scale up their response in northern Syria using in kind donations purchased in Turkey. So far, we have provided 500 food parcels containing shelf-stable food, each feeding up to six people in the Syrian city of Azaz.
- IBC has permission to move materials across the Turkish/Syrian border at Kilis/Kırıkhan, which at present appears to be open with no reports of damage to infrastructure.
World Jewish Relief will continue to monitor needs, but we expect our response to remain focussed on the provision of food, shelter, hygiene and medical items. We will continue to help those in need and help save lives.
How can I support people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria?
Although we appreciate generous offers of in-kind donations such as clothes and tinned food, cash donations are most effective. The packing, transportation and delivery of in-kind donations take up valuable time and resources, and often blocks important transport routes for other relief efforts. Cash is also flexible; if needs change as the crisis develops, our partner can respond appropriately.