AMMAN (February 6, 2023) – Global humanitarian organization World Vision is working rapidly to assess impacts to and respond to the needs of vulnerable children and communities, including millions of Syrian refugees, in the wake of a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck in the early hours of Monday morning. The devastating quake sent powerful tremors across southeastern Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) and northern Syria, killing approximately 5,000 people and injuring many thousands more. Ongoing aftershocks threaten additional damage, and reports of new deaths and injuries are growing as response efforts continue.
“While we were sleeping, the house started shaking,” a World Vision staff member in northern Syria shared. “I immediately ran to my children; I did not know which one to carry … a minute of time was like years of helplessness and fear, and the fear continues with the aftershocks. Most of the people are on the streets in the snow and rain … and many [are] still trapped under the rubble.”
Striking in the middle of a harsh winter, this catastrophic quake has placed already vulnerable children and families at even greater risk. “We will do everything we can to help those who were affected,” said Johan Mooij, director of World Vision’s Syria crisis response.
Priorities will include ensuring access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, healthcare, shelter, and child protection, beginning in the areas of Gaziantep and Sanliurfa in Turkey and Azaz, Afrin, and Idlib in northern Syria. Fuel and heat are to be distributed to medical facilities and emergency shelters, identified as an immediate concern due to sub-zero temperatures.
World Vision has been working in the Middle East region for nearly 40 years to improve the lives of children and families through long-term development as well as response to both natural and man-made disasters. Our work has supported Syrian families who fled to Lebanon in 2011 as well as children and families in Syria, Jordan, and Turkey, all of whom have suffered from ongoing conflict and the resulting refugee crisis. Since the crisis began, we’ve helped over 7.5 million children and their families in the region.
Click here to donate to World Vision’s Turkey and Syria Emergency Response.