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Türkiye earthquake: World Vision provides fuel and heaters in Northwest Syria

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HONG KONG SAR 16 February 2023 – As the death toll from the Turkish and Syrian earthquake keeps rising, millions of people in northwestern Syria are in desperate need. World Vision says the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria has created need greater than any other natural disaster the organisation has responded to in over a decade.Johan Mooij, World Vision Syria Response Director, said, “Hospitals and health clinics that survived the earthquake in Syria were already overstretched and underfunded – now they are unable to even keep the power on due to lack of fuel. Families who have been displaced multiple times already due to the Syrian conflict, have been displaced again. The amount of money and effort it will take to rebuild the structural damage could take a generation to get to pre-earthquake levels. This is especially the case in Northwest Syria where the humanitarian response plan has been consistently underfunded for most of the past 12 years. This is a humanitarian emergency that is catastrophic in historic terms, that requires an aid response that is historic in its generosity.”

After the earthquake, World Vision teams responded quickly to assess the most urgent needs on the ground and provided 17,000 litres of fuel to health facilities as well as search and rescue teams in Northwest Syria to enable them to keep running their operations transporting and treating the wounded. World Vision has also provided much needed heaters and fuel to more than 1,605 impacted households seeking refuge in collective shelters scattered across the Northwest. This will allow displaced families to stay warm until more temporary solutions are found.

Meanwhile, World Vision plans to distribute emergency relief items such as food, water, shelter and winterisation items, as well as medical supplies to several health facilities struggling to respond to growing needs.

A recent needs assessment conducted by World Vision in Northwest Syria showed that 94% of surveyed people’s homes and shelters had been affected by the earthquake, while 82% were sheltering in collective shelters as a result of these damages. In addition, 42% of respondents reported that education facilities had been damaged in their neighbourhoods, and 84% of them said the earthquake had impacted their children’s ability to access education services. So far, World Vision’s emergency assistance has reached more than 78,000 women, men and children in Northwest Syria with fuel, heaters, ready to eat meals and health care assistance.

World Vision said that already dire and spiralling humanitarian conditions in Northwest Syria due to conflict – combined with the damage, limited access, loss of life and injuries – have meant the suffering as a result of the earthquake and aftershocks has been uniquely devastating.

Johan Mooij added, “Entire streets and villages have been reduced to rubble, whole families killed, and millions left homeless. People already living in extreme poverty have lost what little they had. Prior to the quakes, 6 or 7 people were sharing tents due to the scale of displaced from the conflict. Now it’s 16 or 17 people in each tent. Children have been traumatised and will need psychosocial and physical support to deal with the impact of this disaster.

“We have not seen suffering and devastation of this scale in over a decade. The impact is so enormous that World Vision warns that it could take a generation for survivors to recover, and maybe longer in Northern Syria, where millions were already living on humanitarian aid.”