One month after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria
One month ago today, the devastating two earthquakes hit the border region between Turkey and Syria. Tens of thousands of people died, millions were left homeless. An area the size of Germany was destroyed. Johanniter was directly on-site and, together with three partner organizations, is providing emergency aid to the people in both countries.
Small quakes still shake the earth in the Turkish-Syrian border region every day. Thousands have already been affected since the two devastating earthquakes of 6 February 2023. “People have been sleeping in tents or communal shelters for four weeks, often without electricity, water or heating,” reports Roy Joude, Programme Manager at Johanniter International Assistance and currently on the ground in Turkey.
The clean-up is in full swing in many cities. Millions of people are being evacuated from Antakya in Hatay province, for example, and accommodated in camps outside or in other regions of the country. “People who have no family in other parts of the country or simply no money to build a new life elsewhere will now have to live in the camps for months or years. Rebuilding entire cities will take time,” Joude continues.
The Turkish civil protection is coordinating the care for the survivors. Johanniter and its partner organization MAPS have been assigned to a village in the province of Hatay to provide people with hot food twice a day. “Thousands of meals will be prepared and distributed in a large kitchen in Bozhöyük Köyü starting tomorrow,” says Magdalena Kilwing, Head of Emergency Response at Johanniter.
In addition to the kitchen in Hatay, two other kitchens are being set up together with MAPS in Gaziantep, Turkey, and in Afrin, Syria. Together with another local partner organization from Gaziantep, Syrian refugees and groups of ethnic minorities who hardly receive any support from the Turkish state are also supported with shopping vouchers for local supermarkets.
Long-term focus on Syria
In addition to emergency relief in Turkey, Johanniter's assistance will focus primarily on Syria in the coming months. Together with its partner organizations, Johanniter will support hospitals here with fuel for generators and ambulances in the coming weeks. Building materials for damaged houses, as well as credit to buy everyday necessities, will enable people to return to their homes and provide for their families. In addition, Johanniter is already preparing longer-term relief measures for the population, which has been devastated by the war for years.