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Turkey-Syria Earthquake Relief

Disaster Relief

100% of all donations for the Turkey-Syria Earthquake are used solely on expenses related to supporting that response.

06 February 2023, Syria, Harem: Rescue workers and civilians conduct search and rescue operations in the rubble of a collapsed building following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria. Photo: Anas Alkharboutli/dpa (Photo by Anas Alkharboutli/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Quick Facts

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake reverberated through Turkey, Syria and the larger region on Feb. 6, 2023.

Collapsed buildings have resulted in thousands of deaths, and search and rescue efforts are underway.

Direct Relief is deploying urgently needed medical aid, including acute and chronic care medications, to hard-hit areas.

Mobilizing Medical Aid for Turkey and Syria

Immediate Support for Search and Rescue, Health Needs

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake caused widespread damage across Turkey and northern Syria. More than 50,000 people have been confirmed killed, with the earthquake occurring in the middle of the night and impacting highly populated areas.

To help meet the urgent needs on the ground, Direct Relief is deploying medical supplies from its facilities in the U.S. and Europe for Turkey and Syria. More than 440 tons of medical aid have been staged or shipped for Turkey and Syria since the earthquake began.

More than 100 field medic packs for the Turkish search and rescue organization, AKUT, are staged for shipment from Direct Relief’s warehouse on February 9, 2023. The shipment also contains 500 personal care kits for people who have been displaced from their homes after a devastating earthquake, and aftershocks impacted the region. The shipment is the latest to depart for Turkey and shipments for Syria departed earlier this week. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

Items include medication to treat people with injuries and pre-existing medical conditions, such as field medic packs, antibiotics and other essential medicines, as well as oral rehydration solutions and hygiene items for those displaced from their homes.

The organization has also committed $3 million in financial support for response efforts in Syria and Turkey, and includes $100,000 of financial support to AKUT, the leading search and rescue team in Turkey, and $1.6 million to the Syrian American Medical Society, which operates health facilities in northwest Syria treating patients impacted by the quake.

AKUT has over 400 staff and volunteers and deployed its teams to the earthquake zone to begin search and rescue efforts. Southern Turkey is home to 3.6 million refugees, many of whom live in camps, at risk of the elements.

The Syrian American Medical Society, which has based its Syria and Turkey operations out of Gaziantep, near the epicenter, operates health facilities in northwest Syria, and immediately began receiving patients impacted by the earthquake. The region contains a large population of internally displaced people and refugees at particular risk of disaster and impacts from interrupted power, health services, food and water access, and limited shelter.

Health Risks of Earthquakes

When earthquakes of large magnitude strike, Direct Relief staffers immediately go to work, contacting partner organizations and government agencies in affected areas to assess needs and ensure any hurdles to providing aid are quickly cleared. In some cases, the organization leverages existing stocks of supplies to help with the first earthquake relief efforts, such as the emergency modules that are pre-positioned in vulnerable areas.

Once Direct Relief assesses initial needs, medications, medical supplies, and other requested supplies and equipment are quickly assembled, are trucked or airlifted to healthcare providers in affected areas. Direct Relief frequently coordinates with companies and organizations, including FedEx, the World Food Programme, the U.N. Humanitarian Air Service, and other services, to provide airlift capabilities and logistical support.

Beyond the immediate trauma and acute injuries, earthquakes pose particular risks to those who have been displaced and are living outdoors or in congregant areas.

Waterborne illnesses like cholera are a concern, particularly in Syria, where many cases have been reported. Exposure to cold temperatures also puts displaced people at health risk. Syria has also endured years of civil conflict and a strained health system. Lack of power also results in health risks for health facilities unable to operate without electricity and for those dependent on medical devices like ventilators.

Direct Relief has also been monitoring the health risks around evacuation and displacement, and providing information to policymakers and response organizations. Daily reports are published here from CrisisReady, a research-response initiative at Harvard and Direct Relief, supported by grants from the Harvard Data Science Initiative, Google.org, Data for Good at Meta, and the World Bank GFDRR.

Looking Ahead

Direct Relief is working to mobilize medical aid deliveries to help address immediate and near-term medical needs in coordination with local officials and agencies to ensure efficiency and avoid bottlenecks that can occur when efforts to bring in personnel and material assistance converge in an area with damaged infrastructure.

The organization is focused on strengthening the health system as the recovery phase continues.

Donation Policy

Direct Relief’s donation policy ensures that 100 percent of all designated contributions for specific programs or emergency responses are used only on expenses related to supporting that program or response.

If you wish to restrict the use of your donation only for a specific purpose or area, Direct Relief will honor that wish or tell you that it cannot and offer to return your contribution.