I realize that you may have already heard the tragic news. Thousands of people have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured in two devastating earthquakes that struck the border of Turkey and Syria.
Millions of displaced Syrians already living in makeshift homes in freezing conditions are among the hardest hit. It is winter there and homes, buildings, and essential infrastructure have been destroyed across the impacted area. Children will need urgent access to food, water, healthcare, shelter and warm clothing to protect them against the elements, and also safe places to play and stimulate their minds during the recovery period.
We have made an initial allocation to this response from the Children’s Emergency Fund to enable our teams to respond quickly after the earthquake reverberated across 10 provinces in the south of Turkey and devastated large parts of Syria. The earthquake and significant aftershocks have been felt throughout the region, as far as North East Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Over 2,800 buildings have collapsed in Turkey, including hospitals, schools and government buildings, with Save the Children racing to assess the immediate needs of children and their families.
Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children Türkiye Country Director said:
"This is one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years and has made thousands homeless, while the region is experiencing freezing weather and snowstorms. Schools in the affected areas are now closed for a week. Our teams are moving quickly to check all our staff are safe, and to respond to the emergency, but it's crucial that the international community acts now to provide support to the thousands of people in need."
Okke Bouwman, Save the Children Syria Media Director said:
“Twelve years of conflict in Syria have left families on the brink. The economy has collapsed, and families were already struggling to feed their children, to keep them warm this winter and to send them to school. Now children may be trapped in rubble, separated from their caregivers or unsure whether they will have a warm place to sleep tonight. Aftershocks are continuing, bringing further terror. These children need our immediate support-the international community must step up to help them now.”
In North West Syria, Save the Children is working closely to assess the scale of the damage to provide support that children desperately need as the situation becomes clearer. In Türkiye, Save the Children is working to assess needs and has established a response team which will be supporting the national emergency response across the region, in close coordination with the government and key stakeholders. In the immediate aftermath of this disaster, Save the Children is planning to support affected communities with winterization and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing.
Please donate if you can.
Kevin J. Wohlers
President, Save the Children LI Council