A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southeast Turkey near the Syrian border on February 6, 2023, at 4:17 a.m. local time, with a depth of 11 miles. The earthquake impacted 13 million of Turkey’s 85 million citizens and resulted in at least 120 aftershocks. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency in the affected area. The World Health Organization estimates that the disaster could affect 23 million people, including 1.4 million children, who were already in need of aid due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The earthquake in Turkey near the Syrian border had its epicentre near Nurdağı and Gaziantep in Gaziantep Province, affecting at least 10 Turkish provinces including Adana, Gaziantep, Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Malatya, and Sanliurfa. Turkey hosts 3.5 million Syrian refugees and is a significant hub for NGOs supporting Syrians through cross-border humanitarian operations. In Syria, cities like Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Idlib were badly affected with buildings damaged and many reported to have collapsed, adding to the already existing humanitarian crisis in the region with over 4 million people relying on aid. The earthquake has caused further misery in an area already beset by the 12-year conflict and refugee crisis.
The earthquake in Turkey has left hundreds of thousands of children and their families homeless and vulnerable to disease, exploitation, and abuse. The harsh winter weather and damage to shelters and water infrastructure have increased the risk of hypothermia and waterborne diseases. Children are also unable to return to school as buildings have been deemed unsafe. The disaster has added to the already severe humanitarian crisis in northwest Syria and created the perfect environment for a health crisis with reduced healthcare capacity and disease outbreaks. The earthquake has caused trauma to the ongoing crisis in the region, with families facing difficulties in dealing with the physical and mental impact of the disaster while trying to survive without homes and access to food in sub-zero temperatures.
Humanity First has dispatched its team to the front line of the disaster zone in the aftermath of the earthquake. The team, consisting of volunteers and doctors, is providing vital assistance to the affected communities, including transporting Syrian refugees to shelter, food, and medical aid. The organization has set up services to provide food to the affected and has also arranged for temporary medical facilities to treat the injured and prevent the spread of disease. Humanity First has been working tirelessly to address the immediate needs of the affected populations and is committed to providing ongoing support until the communities have fully recovered from the disaster.
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