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Providing lifesaving emergency support to earthquake survivors in Türkiye: Ibrahem’s Story


April 26, 2023 • 3 min read

The story of 25-year-old Ibrahem and his family is the story of many people who survived the catastrophic earthquakes in Türkiye (Turkey) on February 6th. Like so many, they have to rebuild their lives from scratch.

Following the devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake, they were able to climb out of the rubble in Adana, but completely lost their home. They are now living in a tent and depending on basic humanitarian assistance to survive. With support from the European Union, GOAL Türkiye teams, in close coordination with Türkiye’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD), are providing emergency support to thousands of earthquake survivors like Ibrahem and his family.

14 million people affected

It has been more than two months since a devastating earthquake hit Türkiye and Syria which caused more than 50,000 deaths and over 107,000 injuries. 14 million people have been directly affected by the earthquake, which was closely followed by one of similar magnitude, as well as hundreds of aftershocks.

Ibrahem describes the trauma of experiencing the earthquake, which struck in the middle of the night, while his family slept.

“We were the lucky ones, as we were able to get out of the house. We couldn’t take out any of our belongings. Our home was destroyed. Unfortunately, everything was gone. My mental health is very bad now. We’ve become afraid of everything,” he says.

Ibrahem and his family have found refuge in a tent since their home was destroyed by the earthquake

Leaving home yet again

Over 3 million people left the disaster zone to seek safety and to access services in neighbouring provinces. Mersin province was largely unaffected by the earthquake and has received the largest number of people displaced in the aftermath. Ibrahem and his family travelled there and began to live in a tent, which they found safer than sleeping indoors, due to the many aftershocks. He says that his family have had to move time and time again.

“Due to the war in Syria, we fled our home in Hasaka and built a new life in Adana eight years ago. Everything was on track, but with this earthquake, we had to leave our home again. We wonder what else we will experience in this life.”

In need of help, Ibrahem and his family reached out to the GOAL Türkiye team. They soon began identifying the family’s needs and provided them with essential food kits, hygiene kits and blankets.

“This support is very beneficial to us. We need a lot of help to get on with our lives,” Ibrahem says.

Ibrahem, his mother Zyna and sister Riva, in front of their new home

A Proud Humanitarian

Ezgi Direybatogullari, GOAL Türkiye’s Social Services and Coaching Worker, works in Adana, but her family’s house in Hatay was destroyed. After moving her family to a safer place, she started to support those in need.

“We support host communities and refugees impacted by the earthquake with materials such as hygiene kits, baby diapers, new-born kits, blankets, solar lamps, water cans, and ready-to-eat food kits. We all share the fear, anxiety, and pain. After this terrible earthquake, I am proud that I am a humanitarian aid worker helping our neighbours in need.”

The LINK project

Since 2018, the LINK project has provided protection assistance and conducted awareness-raising activities for vulnerable refugees in Türkiye. LINK is a European Union-funded project implemented by GOAL Türkiye.