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Emergency aid after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

Two major earthquakes with thousands of aftershocks occurred in the Turkish-Syrian border region on 6 February 2023. More than 50,000 people lost their lives, over 100,000 people were injured and 26 million people are affected. AWO International is helping more than 40,000 people to meet their most urgent needs.

Two women hand an emergency aid package to an elderly lady.
Together with our Syrian partner organisation Hiro, we provide emergency aid in the north of Aleppo.

The earthquake is one of the most devastating and deadliest earthquakes worldwide in more than a decade. Together with six Syrian and Turkish partner organizations, we are providing humanitarian aid. For example, we are distributing emergency aid packages with food and hygiene products, tents, mattresses and nappies to affected families. Please support us with a donation so that we can continue to provide fast and uncomplicated aid.

Emergency aid in Turkey

In Turkey, around 12 million people live in the areas affected by the earthquake, including two million refugees from Syria. The need for humanitarian aid is huge: the affected people need shelter, medical care, food and drinking water. Together with our cooperation partner Solidar Suisse and the two local partner organisations Syrian Women's Network and Zero Discrimination Association, we are providing emergency aid in Turkey. 

  • The Syrian Women's Network consists of 21 women's rights organisations in Turkey and Syria. The focus of the joint emergency aid project is on the distribution of essential relief supplies in south-eastern Turkey. We are supporting a total of 610 families there with food and hygiene packages. Regionally, the focus of the emergency aid is on Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Hatay. These cities are home to many Syrian refugees, many of whom are living in camps or makeshift shelters as a result of the earthquakes. 
  • Our second partner organisation in Turkey, Zero Discrimination Association (ZDA), has a special focus on the Roma population affected by discrimination in the Turkish earthquake zones. ZDA is providing 6,900 people with emergency relief materials such as food, tents and blankets. In addition, 4,400 particularly vulnerable Roma receive support in the form of cash and vouchers. In addition, the organisation gives those affected access to humanitarian aid through counselling and referral services. The regional focus is on Antakya, Gaziantep and Şanlıurfa.

In addition to the projects with local partner organisations, AWO International supported emergency relief measures by the AWO Bochum district association in February 2023. Donations from AWO International helped distribute 550 emergency aid packages in the Turkish town of Adıyaman, which was severely affected by the earthquake. The town is located in the Kurdish-dominated region of Turkey. The selected households had not received any aid before. The packages were each enough for one family for one month and contained, for example, rice, bulgur, lentils, canned food, cooking oil and noodles.

Emergency aid in Syria

The natural disaster is particularly dramatic for the people affected in northern Syria. Due to the war that has lasted for more than 12 years, the country is severely weakened and the health system is already under great strain. Many buildings were already unstable due to the long war, which is why entire neighbourhoods have collapsed in some regions. In Syria, we are supporting those affected by the earthquakes together with our cooperation partners Volkshilfe Austria and Solidar Suisse as well as four local relief organisations. More than 4000 families are benefiting from the emergency interventions in Syria. In addition to distribution measures, together with our partners we also offer psychosocial support as well as financial aid for reconstruction.

  • Together with the Hiro Centre for Dialogue and Rehabilitation, we have been regularly distributing food and hygiene packages, baby supplies and mattresses to 250 families in Sheikh Maksud, a district of Aleppo, since February. The Kurdish district is almost closed off from the outside world, which is why many international organisations do not provide any aid there either. In addition to distributions, Hiro supports affected families with repair work on destroyed houses and offers psychosocial support.
  • Our Syrian partner organization Sawaedna is a women's initiative based in Ariha near Idlib, which has a lot of experience in the field of humanitarian aid. The need for aid supplies in the whole region around Idlib is still very great, as in the towns of Salqin and Jenderis whole districts were destroyed by the earthquakes. Sawaedna began distributing relief supplies immediately after the earthquake. In the first emergency phase, the focus of our joint project was on distributing emergency relief packages, mattresses and blankets around Azaz and Afrin. While distributions continue, Sawaedna now also offers psychosocial counselling and child protection training.
  • Together with our long-time partner organization Mousawat, we provide support for people with disabilities in the Aleppo area after the earthquakes. Mousawat is an NGO that works primarily for the rights of people with disabilities and specializes in the rehabilitation and support of people with disabilities. Through the joint emergency relief and rehabilitation project, 1000 people with disabilities are receiving wheelchairs, mobility aids and hygiene items. Training on how to use the aids is also provided, and climate change initiatives are supported.
  • Since June 2023, we have been active together with the organisation SARD in the area of reconstruction in northern Syria. For example, affected families receive cash aid to rebuild their homes. Moreover, SARD helps with the repair of community centres. In addition to reconstruction, SARD provides psychosocial support for children and their families and conducts training on children's rights.

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