GOAL teams are supporting communities in Turkey and Syria following the devastating 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that struck Hatay Province on February 6th.
Communities are still coming to terms with the enormous loss. Over 50,000 people tragically lost their lives. Thousands more severely injured. And millions of people have been made homeless after the destruction of 202,000 thousand buildings across Southern Turkey and Northwest Syria.
A crisis within a crisis
For Syrian communities displaced by 12 years of conflict, the earthquake has been catastrophic, a crisis within a crisis. Prior to the earthquake, millions of people across Syria were already reliant on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs. 55,000 families displaced by conflict have had their temporary homes destroyed.
With over 1,000 local staff based in Turkey and Syria, GOAL teams were well placed to respond to the emergency. GOAL has been one of the leading humanitarian agencies in northwest Syria since the conflict began in 2012, delivering lifesaving aid and support to displaced communities. Staff have also been on the ground in Turkey since 2016, helping the most vulnerable and marginalised refugees access essential services and aid.
Supporting local communities
Over the last six weeks, GOALies in Southern Turkey have been distributing hygiene, dignity and new-born kits to help protect mothers, infants and stop the spread of disease. Teams have provided kitchen sets to help feed 5,300 people. And with support from Irish Aid, GOALies have been distributing blankets and tents to help keep thousands of people warm in Hatay province.
Across the border, in Northwest Syria, GOALies are delivering lifesaving food assistance to support 1,200 vulnerable households. As aid is being distributed GOAL teams are screening for malnutrition to help protect local communities. GOAL teams have also restarted local bakery programmes, helping to deliver subsidised bread for 300,000 people.
With widespread damage to infrastructure staff are working to repair water networks and deliver water to ensure communities have access to fresh drinking water. The repairs are also helping to reduce the growing risk of a cholera outbreak. Additionally, over 80,000 people in Idleb and Northern Aleppo are receiving emergency cash assistance to provide for their families.
“Despite the immense personal challenges that the earthquakes brought to our staff, including the tragic loss of 31 of our colleagues in Syria and Turkey, GOALies are still working tirelessly to support communities affected.” Jeannie Zielinski, GOAL’s Country Director for Syria, says. “We must continue to do everything we can to ensure that vulnerable families can survive as Turkish and Syrian communities try to rebuild in the face of unprecedented devastation.”
You can support GOAL’s emergency response in Turkey and Syria with a donation today.