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Supporting earthquake-affected communities in Türkiye


June 21, 2023 • 3 min read

On the 6th of February, two earthquakes of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude hit Türkiye’s (Turkey’s) southeast provinces, causing devastating human losses and widescale damage across the country.

Tragically, over 50,000 people lost their lives, and 107,000 were badly injured. 14 million people have been directly affected by the earthquakes. Over 3 million people left the disaster zone to seek safety and access services in neighbouring provinces. This situation has led to unprecedented levels of humanitarian need in 11 provinces across Türkiye.

Widespread destruction

Sadly, 31 GOAL staff lost their lives in the devastating earthquakes. GOALies working on the ground in Syria and Turkey joined local communities in the search for loved ones in the aftermath of the earthquakes. Working closely with Turkish authorities, especially AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency), GOAL teams assessed the needs of survivors across Adana, Hatay, Mersin, Sanlıurfa and Gaziantep.

Thanks to EU humanitarian funding, GOAL Türkiye has supported host communities and refugees impacted by the earthquakes with emergency needs like blankets, solar lamps, and ready-to-eat food kits. GOAL has supported more than 41,000 people after the earthquake and continues to do so.

GOAL Türkiye Social Services and Coaching Worker Turan Fırıncıogullar surveying earthquake wreckage.

“My house was completely destroyed, and I lost my loved ones in the earthquake,” says GOAL Türkiye Social Services and Coaching Worker Turan Fırıncıogulları. Turan, who lives in Hatay, one of the most devastated provinces, continued, “After the earthquake, I moved my family to a safe place and started to provide for the most urgent needs of the earthquake victims in Hatay together with my team.”

Ibrahem, his mother Zyna and sister Riva, in front of the tent they’ve found refuge in since their home was destroyed by the earthquake.

With funding from EU Humanitarian Aid, GOAL teams in Türkiye have supported host communities and refugees impacted by the earthquakes with emergency needs like blankets, solar lamps, and ready-to-eat food kits. GOAL Türkiye also activated an Emergency Information and Assistance Hotline after the earthquake, which received more than 4,500 requests for information and humanitarian assistance such as shelter and food. Across Türkiye, GOALies have delivered life-saving support to over 41,000 people.

Rava, a 22-year-old Syrian refugee and mother who lost her home in the earthquake before receiving support from GOAL Turkiye.

Rava, was among those affected. The 22-year-old Syrian mother has been living in Türkiye since 2013. “I was sleeping with my children, and we were lying by the window. During the earthquake, the wall collapsed on us. I can’t explain the trauma we experienced,” Rava says. The building Rava lived in was badly damaged by the earthquake, so she moved to Mersin to her mother’s house. After contacting GOAL Türkiye, local teams supported Rava with emergency items like ready-to-eat food kits and dignity kits funded by the European Union. “Thanks for all your help. We lost everything; your support is very important to us,” Rava says.

GOAL Türkiye staff carrying out psychosocial support (PSS) sessions with Syrian refugee children.

GOAL Türkiye has also been carrying out psychosocial support (PSS) sessions among Syrian refugees and host communities affected by the crisis. GOALies on the ground have supported children in these communities with psychosocial support kits funded by the European Union, and by playing games, making art, and doing recreational activities with them. The support kits include drawing notebooks, pencils, jumping rope, puzzles, toys, personal hygiene sets, and stickers. In total, more than 800 children have been supported by PSS activities and kits through GOAL Türkiye following the earthquake.