Turkey / Syria: Johanniter provides 44,000 people with basic necessities of life

A Johanniter staff member talks to families who fled the earthquake in Turkey.

3 March 2023

Almost one month after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, Johanniter and three partners have started emergency relief projects for the people.

Smaller quakes still shake the earth in the border region between Turkey and Syria every day. Thousands have already been since the devastating earthquake of February 6, 2023. "People have been sleeping in tents or communal shelters for almost four weeks. Many without electricity, water and heating," reports Roy Joude, program manager at Johanniter International Assistance and currently in Turkey. 

Clean-up efforts are in full swing in many cities. Millions of people are being evacuated from Antakya in Hatay province, for example, and are being housed 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. This is because it will take time to rebuild entire towns," Roy added.

The Turkish Civil Protection is coordinating the care of those who have stayed behind. Johanniter and its partner MAPS have been assigned to a camp in Hatay Province to provide people with hot food twice a day and hygiene kits. "Thousands of meals will be prepared and served in a large kitchen starting next week," says the head of Johanniter's emergency response team, Magdalena Kilwing.

In addition to the kitchen in Hatay, two other kitchens will be set up together with MAPS in Gaziantep, Turkey, and Afrin, Syria. With another local partner in Gaziantep, Syrian refugees and migrants who receive little support from the Turkish state are also supported with shopping vouchers for local supermarkets.

Long-term focus on Syria

In addition to emergency aid in Turkey, Johanniter's assistance will focus primarily on Syria in the coming months. Together with its partners, Johanniter will support hospitals here with fuel for generators and ambulances in the coming weeks. Shelter rehabilitation for damaged houses, as well as funds to buy everyday necessities, will enable people to return to their homes and provide support for their families. In addition, Johanniter is already looking into long-term aid for the population, which has been devastated by the war for years.

Return of the emergency relief team

Thursday, 2 March 2023, the Johanniter emergency relief team will return to Germany. Further assistance on the ground will now be coordinated by the Johanniter regional office for the Middle East.