More than 5,000 people (updated to 16,000) are reported dead from earthquakes and at least 285 aftershocks in Turkey and Syria.
Authorities state that hundreds of thousands are injured as crumbling buildings hamper rescue efforts and delivery of aid to survivors. The death toll could triple in the coming days.
Even as tremors continue, Christian aid organizations are on the ground and seeking donations at home (below).
The first quake had a magnitude of 7.8. It was followed by a second almost-as-powerful tumbler with a 7.6 magnitude. It hit the same region just nine hours later as rescue crews were on and inside the rubble of destroyed buildings. Turkey alone experienced 285 aftershocks with dozens more in Syria.
Social media has captured the horror of the earthquakes and continuing destruction as buildings collapse. A video shared on Twitter shows innumerable buildings turned to rubble, with only a few tall buildings still standing. Another video shows a building crashing down while people run for safety.
The level of destruction caused by the earthquake in Turkey makes it look like a war zone. This is utterly heartbreaking. Pray for Turkey and especially for the people trapped under the rubble. pic.twitter.com/PeqPXoNKlF
— KC (@kci2013) February 6, 2023
Damaged roads and poor internet connections are hindering rescue efforst while winter weather threatens those made homeless. New reports show families sleeping with little or no shelter in city parks and in cars.
In Kahramanmaras, families wrapped themselves in blankets and gathered around fires to keep themselves warm. The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey (AFAD) is said to have deployed 13,740 search and rescue personnel as well as over 300,000 blankets, 100,000 beds, and 41,000 tents to the region. According to Organ Tatar, an official from AFAD, 5,775 buildings, many of them high-rise partment blocks, have been leveled by the violent shaking.
“The infrastructure is damaged, the roads that we used to use for humanitarian work are damaged, we have to be creative in how to get to the people … but we are working hard,” U.N. resident coordinator El-Mostafa Benlamlih told Reuters.
Christian Aid Response:
In addition to government aid from United States, Israel, and the European Union, Christian non-profits and ministries already serving the region are responding.
Samaritan’s Purse, founded by Franklin Graham, says they “are working through local partners on the ground to assess needs in the Kahramanmaraş region of southern Turkey near the border with Syria.
We will update this article in the coming days as further information about our response becomes available. Please join us in praying for so many suffering families and for our teams and partners on the ground serving them in Jesus’ Name.” You can donate HERE.
The Red Cross
The American Red Cross says about 250,000 people are immediately affected by the earthquakes. It says it’s “emergency response team is on the ground and working quickly to save as many lives as possible.”
The noprofit has launched an appeal to assist people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria on Monday. The agency is working to deliver emergency relief and to provide help as fast as possible.
In a release, the organization says money raised will help to provide immediate relief, ongoing recovery efforts, and resilience and preparedness activities in impacted and surrounding areas. Donate HERE.
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic Relief Services is supporting emergency relief efforts led by local partners in both Syria and Turkey with Caritas Turkey, Caritas Syria in Aleppo and Lattakia—where extensive damage has been reported—and other local partners. Already in Turkey, Caritas Anatolia, in coordination with authorities, is bringing displaced people to safe, open spaces and distributing hot meals and clothing. The dioceses of Izmir and Istanbul are collecting donations to send to the Anatolia Region. Donations provide safe shelter, and access to food, clean water and hygiene supplies. Donate HERE.
Operation Blessing is deploying its International Disaster Relief team to Turkey to aid in the relief efforts following the deadly earthquake. This region—particularly northern Syria—has already been devastated by civil war, displacing millions, and many remaining residents continue to live in poor conditions.
The team will be distributing emergency relief supplies including portable solar lanterns, which are invaluable at night in disaster zones when the electricity is out. The Operation Blessing team will meet with local officials shortly to determine the best response in the coming days and weeks. Donate HERE.
International Rescue Mission
International Rescue Mission says gifts will help provide emergency services to families in Turkey and Syria. Donate HERE.
Christian Aid already works with local partners in Northwest Syria. As the area is being hit by a cold winter front, Christiana Aid is funding winter kits to people seeking shelter. These kits include plastic sheeting, mattresses, blankets, and heating materials. Donate HERE.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice