Yesterday marked one week since deadly earthquakes hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria. It has been a week of heartache, death, and ruin. The weeks ahead look long and uncertain.
Heartache and ruin
This tragedy is the region’s deadliest disaster in a century. At this time, the confirmed death toll has reached over 37,000. But with many people still missing, the actual number is expected to be much higher. In some areas, mass graves are being dug as cemeteries are filled. One church leader in Turkey lost more than 20 members of his family.
For many people, nearly all they have is buried under layers of rubble. Tens of thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria collapsed during the earthquakes, leaving people with few places to shelter from the bitter cold.
Tragedy upon tragedy
Some of the most vulnerable people in this earthquake situation are Syrians who have faced more than a decade of civil war. They know tragedy all too well. Warring factions, limited access to aid, widespread displacement, and a shattered economy were already realities in their country. Now this disaster deals them yet another blow. Many feel forgotten.
In neighboring countries like Lebanon, many refugees who fled from Syria’s conflict are desperate to know how their loved ones are doing. “They are mourning silently,” says a contact.
It will no doubt take months, and maybe years, for people to recover from these deadly earthquakes. The tasks of cleanup and rebuilding look daunting. Many people are plagued with fear and anxiety. They struggle to know how to move forward with the loss of family members, friends, homes, and jobs.
Help for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria
Contacts on the ground in earthquake-affected areas continue researching needs and ways to help. They are distributing aid like food, water, blankets, coal, and heaters.
In one Syrian city, our contacts shared some of the dire needs they found: “Many people starving and lacking everything, as their neighborhood had been sealed off.” They were able to help some especially needy families with food, water, and other basic supplies.
If you would like to help people suffering in the aftermath of these earthquakes, your support will be a blessing!