A World Vision staff member has told of desperately grabbing his children as their house shook when an earthquake struck south-eastern Türkiye and Northern Syria today.
The family were sleeping when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit and reverberated across the region.
As the death toll rapidly rises, World Vision is assessing the impact to children and communities already displaced.
As many as 500 people have been killed and many more trapped, with reports of new deaths and injuries confirmed every hour.
“While we were sleeping, the house started shaking; I immediately ran to my children,” the World Vision staff member in Northern Syria said.
“I did not know which one to carry. I could not reach the door, the distance was very far, and a minute of time was like years of helplessness and fear.
“The fear continues with the aftershocks. Most of the people are on the streets in the snow and rain, with many destroyed buildings, many victims, and many still trapped under the rubble.”
World Vision’s Syria Crisis Response Director Johan Mooji said: “In the middle of a harsh winter, children and families who are already incredibly vulnerable have now been shaken to their core by this devastating earthquake. This is likely to affect thousands in Northern Syria and southern Türkiye. I am devastated by this sad news, and we will do everything we can to help those who were affected. As well as rapidly assessing how we can support the relief effort, we are also confirming the wellbeing of our staff in Türkiye and Syria – all of whom are safe. It is a reminder of how challenging these situations can be for all involved.”