The earthquake which struck in the early hours of Monday February 6th while people were sleeping, is a disaster on top of a disaster that the people of northern Syria already find themselves in – after 12 years of civil war.
Seven million people in Syria are internally displaced and have already lost their homes and possessions at least once. Now they have lost it all again. And for many, the unthinkable has also happened: they have lost children, parents, siblings.
The population of war-torn northern Syria is already in need of extensive humanitarian aid. Thousands are left to live on the streets in the bitter cold, and many still live in buildings that, after 12 years of armed conflict, are already fragile and in imminent danger of collapsing completely.
It is the most vulnerable who are hit the hardest in a disaster. And when a disaster of this magnitude hits cities with many internally displaced people who already need emergency aid, the number of vulnerable people is enormousBirgitte Qvist-Sørensen, general secretary of DanChurchAid.
Food, blankets, and cash
DanChurchAid works in the earthquake-affected areas in northern Syria through our faith-based partners in Act Alliance. The partners are:
- Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)
- GOPA-DERD – the Greek orthodox church’s (GOPA) charitable arm (DERD).
- Christian Aid (CA)
- Swiss Church Aid (HEKS)
- Finn Church Aid (FCA)
- The Lutheran World Federation (LWF)
- Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe (DKH)
We distribute hot meals, canned food, large warm blankets, quilts, and mattresses to the inhabitants of Aleppo, home to more than two million people, and the cities of Latakia and Hama.
We also distribute cash so that people can buy the most basic necessities themselves.
Reports from our colleagues in Syria tell of massive devastation and the need for help. Our partners are in two of the hardest hit cities, Aleppo and Latakia. Both cities have many internally displaced persons after the war.
Death toll feared to be 20,000
The World Health Organisation (WHO) fears that up to 20,000 people in Syria and Turkey have lost their lives in the earthquake, and that up to 23 million people have been affected by the earthquake in one way or another in the two countries and the surrounding countries.
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