World Vision Australia has launched an appeal to provide life-saving aid to children and families as the toll of the tragic Türkiye-Syria earthquake continues to mount.
Teams on the ground are assessing the escalating needs and providing emergency aid after the 7.8 magnitude quake struck, killing more than 4000 people and injuring thousands more.
World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth said the disaster has hit people who were already displaced in a region shattered by more than a decade of civil war.
People are again fleeing for their lives and were desperate for shelter from the cold, with tents, tarpaulins, mattresses and heating being distributed by response teams.
He said the organisation was well-positioned to help, having worked with vulnerable children and families in the region since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011.
“This is just a terrible situation, you have families who were forced to leave at 4am in the snow, sleet and rain… families already displaced by a civil war who are now homeless again,” Daniel said.
“People are desperately trying to find a place to go. They are living in cars, mosques are full, and our teams on the ground are doing their best to get shelters, heating and bedding for worst affected people.
“But it is very, very difficult to get into these locations, and when you are there, you are worried about buildings collapsing. Keep in mind that this is also a region overwhelmed by a humanitarian crisis that has been going on for more than 10 years.
“World Vision has done this before – and we know what to do. Thankfully, we already had teams there on the ground so we’re able to respond swiftly. We’re already working with people that have been affected by this crisis.”
Daniel said the organisation needed Australians to once again show their trademark generosity.
“With your help, we aim to raise AU$1 million to help the most vulnerable survive this disaster and rebuild their lives as part of our $14.5 million global target ,” he said.
“We anticipate there is going to be an overwhelming need for food aid in the coming days and weeks.”
The biggest earthquake in Türkiye in decades struck about 37km north-west of Gaziantep on February 6 at 4.17AM local time, rocking neighbouring Syria which has endured nearly 12 years of civil war.
The conflict has created the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time, affecting millions of people and spilling into surrounding countries. Even before the quake, more than 4 million people in Northern Syria were relying on humanitarian assistance.
To donate to the appeal, go to worldvision.com.au/turkey-syria-earthquake.
For photos and footage, go to: https://storyhub.wvi.org/Share/4n4n60uw73v05541f60coi1f32wyoj4k
Syrian refugee crisis by the numbers:
- 6.9 million people are displaced within Syria.
- An estimated 5.8 million children need humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs in Syria and neighbouring countries.
- Syria is among the most dangerous countries in the world.
- More than 3.6 million refugees are hosted in neighbouring Türkiye, the largest refugee population worldwide.
- Nearly 13,000 children have died or been injured in Syria since the beginning of the war.
- More than 50% of Syrians live in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 a day.