This evening, GOAL, the Irish-based international humanitarian organization, with long-term operations in Southern Türkiye and NW Syria confirmed that as of today, the number of GOAL colleagues who tragically lost their lives in the violent earthquake that struck the region last Monday stands at 26. Teams are still working around the clock to account for a number of staff still unaccounted for while also supporting the overall search and rescue mission.
Accounting for the safety of each and every member of staff has been the utmost priority since last Monday. But this has presented significant challenges given the immediate movement of staff to find shelter and safety following the earthquake, the loss of electricity and power for telecommunications, damaged and completely unpassable roads, and the absolute geography of destruction and desolation across the vast region.
“To say it has been a profoundly difficult week for the GOAL Teams in Türkiye and Syria cannot be overstated. Because of the sheer geography of destruction, and GOAL’s long-term presence in the communities so severely impacted, the scale of loss is far beyond anything we could have ever imagined” says CEO, Siobhan Walsh.
GOAL staff across the region have also lost family members, sustained life-altering injuries, and lost their homes. Meanwhile, as part of GOAL’s humanitarian response to support communities most affected by the earthquake, teams in Türkiye and Syria have mobilised responses to assess needs on the ground, whilst prioritising the immediate restarting of key humanitarian aid programmes that deliver shelter, access to food, clean water and health and social support.
GOAL’s global team of 3,500 personnel across 14 countries are today united as one as they support their heartbroken colleagues in Türkiye and Syria. Never in the organisation’s history, has GOAL experienced the loss of colleagues on such a scale.
The aid agency will continue to provide updates, as the situation on the ground in its existing locations of operation becomes clearer.