One month has passed since the catastrophic 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Southern Türkiye and NW Syria early on the morning of Mon 6thth February and which was followed by a 7.5 magnitude quake nine hours later. As a result, it is estimated that up to 1.9M people have been displaced in the 11 affected provinces in Southern Türkiye after significant damage to 192K buildings. In NW Syria where the earthquake severely affected Idleb and Aleppo, up to 1,700 buildings have been destroyed and more than 8,600 buildings have been partially destroyed. And up to 55,000 families who were already displaced because of the on-going conflict, have been displaced again. Priority needs include shelter, medical supplies, water, sanitation, food, cash, and psychosocial support.
GOAL has been working in Southern Türkiye since 2016. Within hours of the earthquake in Southern Türkiye, GOAL teams were rescuing survivors from the rubble in NW Syria, and within days were starting the distribution of hygiene kits, dignity kits, new-born kits, blankets, kitchen sets and solar lamps, among other NFIs (non-food items), to over 3,500 people in Adana, Mersin, Gaziantep, Antakya, and Sanliurfa.
GOAL Türkiye has since received prepositioned emergency aid from the Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland) and continues to coordinate with AFAD, the Turkish government’s disaster management agency, to deliver 340 tents to survivors in the Hatay province, reaching over 1,700 individuals in need of shelter.
An Emergency Information and Assistance Hotline has also been activated by GOAL Türkiye to receive calls for requests for information and requests for assistance. This has received a strong response so far, with incoming requests for information and humanitarian assistance such as shelter, NFIs and food provision. There is also a special focus on providing individual protection assistance to high-risk individuals, such as members of the LGBTQI+ community, vulnerable children, and women at risk of gender-based violence.
Speaking about the rapid response in Southern Türkiye, Alek Milutinovic, Country Director, GOAL Türkiye said:
“Because GOAL has already been such an integral part of the refugee response programmes in Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay, and Şanlıurfa since 2016 providing aid to 33K people every year, this allowed us to transition rapidly into our emergency response programming so we could begin providing life-saving assistance. We’re doing everything we can to help earthquake survivors make it through the winter.”
“For example, with the support of the US Bureau of Population, Refugees & Migration, GOAL teams in Adana have opened the doors of our GREEN Project Greenhouse to over 220 earthquake survivors, and our Greenhouse will be open to all earthquake victims in Adana for the foreseeable future. We’re so grateful for the support of the international community, but this crisis is nowhere close to being over,” continued Alek Milutinovic.
GOAL has been working in NW Syria since 2012 and before the earthquake provided aid to 1.5M people every year in Idlib and Northern Aleppo. Since the earthquake, those teams are continuing to deliver clean water, bread, and emergency cash to affected populations in Idlib and Northern Aleppo. In addition, staff members are screening recipients for malnutrition and referring cases to available services when they arise.
The vital bakery programme has also been restarted and since the earthquake GOAL Syria has partnered with eight additional bakeries in earthquake-affected areas, which will serve an additional 285,000 people.
GOAL Syria WASH (Water and Sanitation Hygiene) experts are rehabilitating damaged water systems and delivering clean water through municipal water systems as well as water trucking to ensure that essential access to clean, safe water is maintained during the rehabilitation period, and teams have begun to deliver multipurpose cash assistance in both North Aleppo and Idleb, targeting over 100,000 people to ensure they can afford the necessities to survive.
Jeannie Zielinski, Country Director, GOAL Syria, spoke to the severity and complexity of the crisis in Syria, a country that has been ravaged by conflict since 2012.
“The region of NW Syria was already extremely fragile, and the complexity and severity of this crisis cannot be overstated. It will take years to rebuild these communities. So, for now, we’re focused on saving lives. We’re providing food, clean water, cash assistance – anything to help ensure that these families survive the winter.”
For more information on GOAL’s Turkey and Syria Earthquake Appeal and to donate, please visit https://www.goalglobal.org/turkey-syria-earthquake-appeal/