This Sunday marks six months since two powerful earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria.
More than 55,000 people are estimated to have lost their lives, while many more were injured and displaced. More than 54,000 buildings, including hospitals and schools, were destroyed or damaged.
In North-west Syria, the devastation is most acute. The region is home to over four million people, more than half of whom were already displaced as a result of the ongoing, 12-year civil war in Syria. Before the earthquake, 90% of people in the region were dependent on aid to meet their basic needs. Following the earthquake we partnered with a local organisation named Violet, who were one of the first and only aid agencies operating in this region.
Our impact in North-west Syria
Despite the huge challenges, ActionAid has already been able to reach 104,778 people through search and rescue operations, providing essential food, shelter and mental health support as well as crucially, offering women safe spaces to come during the long days.
- Immediately after the earthquakes, our ActionAid youth volunteers reached 6,330 people through search and rescue operations and emergency medical and mental health care.
- We are providing clean water and hygiene kits to over 30,000 people.
- Our Mobile Mental Health units are providing a lifeline to hundreds of traumatised children living in remote areas.
- We’ve helped to fund a new hospital in North-east Syria which has already helped 5,275 displaced women and children received urgent medical care from a dedicated team of nurses, midwives, and doctors.
In the ActionAid-funded hospital, healthcare workers are fighting to safely deliver babies amid poverty, extreme heat, shelling, a growing cost of living crisis and precious few resources. Watch how these healthcare workers are supporting the community here:
Below are some of the stories of women who were affected by the quakes and who have since received care at an ActionAid-funded hospital.
“We had been asleep”: Safaa’s story
Safaa lives in a refugee camp in North-west Syria, because her home was destroyed in the war. She says: “The suffering here is mainly from poverty but also from the cold and heat.”
Safaa, a mother of three, with her eight-month-old son, Hudhayfa. Photo: Sonya Al Ali Maara / ActionAid
She describes the day of the earthquake: “We had been asleep, and I was breastfeeding my little one and I accidentally dropped him because of how frightened we were.
We were very afraid. The children woke up and started crying, so much crying and they were terrified and started screaming.”
Now, Safaa and her family are getting the care they need at the ActionAid-funded hospital: “They give us medicines and everything we need,” she told us. “You feel that you are at home not in a hospital. They talk to us nicely.
“For the little one, they come and talk nicely and play with him to calm him down and for him to feel comfortable. They are very good doctors.
“Thanks to those who contributed to this hospital, and God bless them.”
“The children were very afraid”: Baraa’s story
Baraa is 28 and lives with her daughters in a refugee camp in North-west Syria. They moved here before the earthquakes, to escape bombing in their village.
Baraa’s daughters lovingly hold their newborn baby sister, Lynn. Photo: Sonya Al Ali Maara / ActionAid
When the earthquakes struck, Baraa was pregnant; she gave birth to her youngest child just one week ago. She describes the panic that ensued: “The children were very afraid – afraid it would happen again.”
Baraa is now receiving care at an ActionAid-funded hospital close to the camp where she lives.
“Now the hospital is here it’s closer and better,” she says. “In case one of the children is ill at night, it’s more comfortable, it’s free of charge, and the road to get there is shorter.”
If you are in a position to donate to our earthquake appeal, please consider making a donation today.
ActionAid Ireland has been raising money for this appeal as part of the Irish Emergency Alliance.