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Türkiye-Syria Earthquake: An update on our response one year on

5 February 2024
Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal

CAFOD local experts responding to the aftermath of 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Syria in February 2023.

Thank you to everyone who has donated and supported the CAFOD Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal. Your donations have enabled our local partners to respond quickly and reach thousands of people with emergency assistance and the tools to start rebuilding their lives. 

What happened in Turkey and Syria?

In the early hours of Monday 6 February 2023, a powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck near the border of Türkiye (Turkey) with northern Syria, followed by a second quake.

The impact was extreme, with over 53,000 people losing their lives and thousands more becoming homeless overnight as homes and buildings were destroyed.  

On 6 February at 4:15 in the morning we were sleeping: me, my wife and our two sons. A strong earthquake awakened us. We were very scared. We saw bricks falling and walls cracking. To be honest, I felt it was the end of my life.

Humanitarian aid worker in Syria

Alia (name changed to protect identity), a humanitarian aid worker with CAFOD's local partner in Syria, recalls the horrific events of 6 February 2023 and the response to date.

How your donations continue to make a difference

Syria earthquake response - water distribution

CAFOD local partners in Syria distributing essentials including food, water, mattresses and bedding to those who lost everything in the earthquake.

Thanks to your generous donations we have raised £2.4 million to support our local partners responding on the ground in Syria and Türkiye. With these donations, local partners are supporting the most vulnerable people affected by this disaster with food, hygiene kits, counselling, healthcare, shelter, education and cash assistance.

You have helped to provide:

CAFOD partners swiftly provided food in affected areas after the earthquake, addressing urgent hunger needs for communities impacted during this crisis.

Prioritising basic sanitation, our partners distributed essential hygiene kits, and offering a sense of dignity. 

Recognising the psychological impact, CAFOD partners focused on vital psychosocial support for children, women, and men. This support aimed to address trauma, providing emotional support, and fostering resilience within the worst-affected communities. 

CAFOD partners supported medical centres in areas hit by the earthquake, repairing damaged medical facilities to address the surge in post-disaster medical needs; and provided primarily paediatric and gynaecological clinics, medication and referrals for surgery.

Responding to housing crises, our partners provided aid to families in inadequate settlements. This support aimed to improve living conditions, providing temporary shelter and stability to those displaced by the earthquake. They also supported shelter repairs for families to return home. 

Aiming to restore normalcy by focusing on educational services for affected children. Efforts were directed at re-establishing schools and ensuring opportunities for learning amidst the chaos caused by the earthquake.

In areas where local markets were operational, CAFOD partners offered cash assistance, empowering people to address their own urgent needs, giving them a sense of autonomy back after the earthquake’s devastation. 

Turkey earthquake response 1

CAFOD’s local partner in Türkiye distributing essentials like hygiene kits, food, water and bedding to those affected by the earthquake. 

CAFOD continues to work in Syria after the earthquake

CAFOD had been present and working with local partners in Syria for many years prior to the earthquake. We continue to support Syrians with urgent humanitarian assistance and long-term support.  

Needs in Syria remain high

In Syria, 90% of people are experiencing poverty and about 15.3 million people don’t have regular access to food and are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. 

What we are doing right now is continuing supporting the work of our partners in the affected areas. We are focusing on long-term recovery, providing education services, supporting access to jobs, offering more long-term mental health support, and maintaining and repairing water structures. We are also ensuring staff and project participants' safety due to ongoing conflicts in the region.

Claudia Alloza Godayol, CAFOD’s Syria Crisis Response Team

The situation for Syrians continues to be desperate: many refugees live in makeshift shelters, derelict buildings, or even in the open air. Many of the children are dealing with trauma having witnessed the loss of loved ones and the destruction of their homes. 

Please give today to help us reach the most vulnerable Syrians including children, women, elderly and the disabled.  

Together, we stand in solidarity and send our prayers to the people of Türkiye and Syria.