Deadly earthquake leaves thousands of people in Türkiye and Syria vulnerable amid harsh winter

Photo: Grayscale Media

TÜRKIYE, FEBRUARY 6, 2023 – Following the deadly earthquake that impacted Türkiye and parts of Northern Syria in the early hours of Monday, February 6, CARE Türkiye is preparing to respond by prioritizing the delivery of essential items to people seeking refuge from the earthquake. According to meteorological reports, an impending snowstorm is also looming over the region, which will be adding to challenges faced by the population and the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond.

CARE Türkiye will continue its existing cross-border operations to respond to the worst affected areas in Northwest Syria, where on-the-ground teams and partners are trying to deliver blankets, food, mattresses, tents, and other non-food items to people in need amid harsh weather conditions. More than 60 per cent of the 4.6 million people in Northwest Syria are internally displaced persons and are now facing renewed displacement due to the earthquake.

CARE Türkiye hopes to collaborate with the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency in Turkey (AFAD) to deliver essential supplies to people in makeshift shelters across Türkiye where people have sought refuge, including in schools, mosques, and other temporary shelters allocated by the government.

CARE Türkiye is also currently assessing the scale and severity of the damage caused to civilian infrastructure and is establishing the safety and security of staff and their families as well as that of partner organizations based in Gaziantep and Northwest Syria.

“We are hampered by the extreme weather including snowfall over Southeast Türkiye and Northwest Syria, making it very difficult for us to access roads, warehouses and supplies that are desperately needed at this current time,” says Sherine Ibrahim, Country Director of CARE Türkiye. “We continue to coordinate with other humanitarian groups, including UN agencies, to pull together information that is as accurate as possible during such times. But currently, we’re in dire need of immediate support in the form of financial assistance to make sure that those who are out in the cold are able to find warmth, those who are hungry are able to eat, and children who are already suffering from malnutrition are able to survive. Obviously, our priority, at this point, is the people in Southeast Türkiye and Northwest Syria, who have been hit the hardest by one of the most destructive and wide-reaching earthquakes to impact the region in recent times.”

The powerful earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale, which occurred at 4:17 a.m. local time (GMT+3), struck Southeast Türkiye and parts of northern Syria and was also felt as far as Lebanon, Jordan, and Cyprus. Several strong aftershocks were felt across the region in the following hours and continue, causing significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. So far, the combined death toll from Türkiye and Syria has surpassed 1,500 but is expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue in affected areas. Another major earthquake was recorded this afternoon at 1.24 p.m. local time (GMT +3), measuring 7.5 in Central Türkiye, 100 km to the north of the epicenter of this morning’s earthquake, and was followed by more strong aftershocks.


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