On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria collapsing more than 6,500 buildings and destroying neighborhoods. The earthquake has become the worst disaster in Turkey’s modern history. As a result of this natural disaster, dozens of countries and humanitarian organizations across the globe have mobilized to send assistance and aid to Turkey and Syria in their times of need.
Turkey, a country with the largest refugee population in the world, is home to an already vulnerable population in the exact towns where the earthquake struck. With 3.6 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, many humanitarian groups and aid organizations are already familiar with these areas. Many old and new humanitarian organizations have stationed themselves in and sent aid to Turkey to help rescue and slowly rebuild the nation:
- Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS): This foundation serves on the front and in hospitals providing emergency medical treatment to those in need. Focusing on neurological procedures, SAMS performed 43 surgeries involving head, nerve and spinal injuries. It also provided $1.2 million of supplies to hospitals in need.
- United Nations: The U.N. has launched a humanitarian appeal of $1 billion for the nation of Turkey. It intends the funds to aid 5.2 million people in the country and will help provide food security, education, shelter and water. Simultaneously, the UNHCR is on the ground in Turkey providing urgent assistance by providing thermal blankets, sleeping mats, winter jackets and other relief items, Time reports.
- International Rescue Committee (IRC): The IRC has sent more than 1,000 staff to Turkey and Syria for support. It has provided cash assistance and financial support to organizations in Syria and Turkey. It is also providing households with essential items like hygiene kits for women, towels, blankets and much more. The organization also provided two mobile health teams providing care to those in need.
Foreign Aid and Resources
Many countries have sent aid to Turkey and Syria in their time of need. Different countries are providing help in various forms. Some are sending teams and dogs to help rescue people from the rubble, others are sending money and many are sending physical resources.
Germany has offered temporary visas to victims of the disaster whose families are already living in Germany. It also sent search and rescue teams to the countries. The EU has sent search and rescue teams from 19 different countries. China has sent $5.9 million to Turkey along with an additional $200,000 to both Syria and Turkey.
Thousands of individuals went to Turkey and Syria as part of rescue and medical teams from various countries including the United States, Switzerland, the European Union and the Czech Republic. Tons of supplies like medical supplies, tents, food and emergency equipment have gone to the two countries from supporting countries across the globe including Algeria, Australia, Iran and Pakistan. In terms of financial aid, countries like France, China, Malaysia and New Zealand have sent hundreds of millions of dollars.
While aid to Turkey and Syria is still an immense need due to the destruction caused by the earthquake, the global community has offered support and come to the aid of those affected. From humanitarian organizations like the United Nations to more than 32 countries globally, the response to this disaster has shown that the people of Turkey have the support of those around the world.
– Kellyjohana Ahumada