Earthquake in Türkiye & Syria: How To Help
Project HOPE is committed to a long-term response supporting those impacted by the February 2023 earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria. Learn more about this humanitarian situation and how you can help.
A series of major earthquakes hit Türkiye and Syria in February 2023, killing and injuring thousands of people and displacing millions from their homes. As those affected work to rebuild their communities, many face urgent health and humanitarian needs. Project HOPE is responding and has a team on the ground coordinating a long-term response. Donate now.
What You Need to Know
On February 6, 2023, one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever hit Türkiye (formerly Turkey) killed more than 55,000 people and caused a widespread humanitarian emergency.
The initial 7.8-magnitude earthquake near Gaziantep was felt as far away as Egypt and Lebanon. Within hours, Project HOPE’s Emergency Response Team was activated to provide essential supplies to the impacted population. After responding to humanitarian needs in the immediate aftermath, Project HOPE has personnel on the ground coordinating a long-term health and humanitarian response in affected communities in Türkiye and northwest Syria.
In our work supporting earthquake survivors in the immediate aftermath and the months since, Project HOPE identified significant need for essential services like health care, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services, non-food items, protection services, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services.
There for Those Impacted by the Destruction
The fallout of the earthquakes has had a major effect on communities throughout Türkiye and Syria, especially those facing political and/or social exclusion and those impacted by nearly 12 years of war inside Syria. In fact, Türkiye is the world’s largest refugee-hosting country and is home to more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees, many of whom lived in tents or unstable buildings even before the earthquakes.
“It will be a long and arduous road to recover and rebuild from a tragedy of this scale, and there will continue to be an overwhelming need for humanitarian assistance for those who have lost everything and remain displaced from their homes,” said Adam Jacovou, Project HOPE’s Türkiye Country Director.
Now, in collaboration with trusted local partners, our team is implementing ongoing shelter, MHPSS, mobile medical unit (MMU), and WASH programs on both sides of the Türkiye-Syria border.
To date, Project HOPE has provided 70 housing containers to address basic shelter needs for health care workers and first responders in Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, and Hatay provinces. The containers support displaced health staff from local hospitals and provide essential services such as a public kitchen and laundry.
Project HOPE has identified immense MHPSS needs for survivors dealing with the long-term impacts of trauma. MHPSS programs are now being implemented on both sides of the border by local partners. In Türkiye, Project HOPE is supporting the Syrian American Medical Society and Genç Hayat Foundation (also called the Young Life Foundation). We are also supporting Sened Dernegi in northwest Syria in their efforts to provide MHPSS and protection services to those rebuilding their lives after the earthquakes.
Project HOPE has also supported two mobile medical units in Azaz and Daret Azza districts in northwest Syria in partnership with Syrian Relief and Development. Each unit provided basic primary health care consultations to both internally displaced people and host community members. Services included reproductive and pediatric health care services, general medical consultations, and non-specialized mental health care integration. Between March and June, mobile medical units provided a grand total of 8,412 health consultations.
As the seasons change and the heat of summer rolls in, many will be at an increased risk of heatstroke and other adverse health outcomes due to their living situations. In Türkiye alone, approximately 2.6 million people are living in tents and without consistent access to essential services. As part of our response, Project HOPE has provided 20 solar water chlorination systems to the Health Directorate in Adıyaman to ensure the provision of clean water in health facilities and informal settlements in rural areas without reliable access to clean water — reaching a catchment population of 16,850 individuals across 20 villages.
Additionally, Project HOPE has coordinated with local health organizations to deliver much-needed medical equipment including mobility devices, infant incubators, oxygen cylinders, bedside monitors, and essential pharmaceuticals throughout our response.
How Project HOPE Responded to the Immediate Aftermath
Project HOPE activated our Emergency Response Team after the initial earthquake and mobilized partners to support these efforts. In the first 24 hours, Project HOPE’s team began assisting survivors and directing them to medical services.
Through our partner SAMU, a Spanish-based humanitarian response organization, Project HOPE deployed a K-9 search and rescue team to help locate survivors in collapsed structures. The team conducted 25 interventions, during which they located and recovered 23 deceased individuals.
The Emergency Response Team mobilized 100 infant incubators for import and distribution through the Turkish Ministry of Health. Project HOPE also distributed hundreds of sleeping bags, as well as 2,000 disaster hygiene kits and 1,000 infant hygiene kits.
In the early stages of the emergency, Project HOPE also provided 7 generators to Gaziantep Health Directorate, 750 sleeping bags to the Heath Directorate in Adiyaman for health workers supporting the emergency health response while in cold and exposed conditions, as well as 1,500 thermal blankets and 1,000 regular blankets to the Directorate Family and Social Services in Kahramanmaras.
PBS News Hour: Earthquake recovery hampered by sheer scale of destruction in Turkey and Syria Featuring interviews with Project HOPE’s Tom Smith and Rawan Hamadeh
Project HOPE’s History of Emergency Response
Project HOPE first started providing medical support in Türkiye in 1987 and has responded to previous crises there including the 1999 earthquake and Syrian Refugee response in 2013-2015. Project HOPE has a long history of emergency response around the world, including previous earthquakes in Haiti and Puerto Rico. Learn more about our history of emergency response here.
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Five months after February’s earthquakes, residents in southern Türkiye and northern Syria continue the difficult task of recovering from the devastation and repairing their communities.
Project HOPE is supporting earthquake survivors on both sides of the border through ongoing shelter, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), mobile medical unit (MMU), and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs. Our team is also coordinating with local health facilities to provide much-needed medical equipment, including mobility devices, oxygen cylinders, infant incubators, bedside monitors, and solar water chlorination systems.
Project HOPE has registered as a recognized international non-governmental organization in Türkiye, paving the way for a longer-term presence in the country to provide continued support for earthquake survivors.
To continuously and effectively respond to the needs of affected communities, Project HOPE has provided accommodation containers in Adıyaman and Kahramanmaraş to house health workers who have been displaced from their homes. We will also continue to work alongside our local partners to support the community with health support, mental health services, and basic needs around shelter and sanitation.
With a localized base in Gaziantep, Project HOPE is committed to continuing to support those impacted by the earthquakes.
As part of Project HOPE’s commitment to the localization of humanitarian aid in Türkiye and Syria, we have established partnerships with numerous local organizations in both countries and are in the process of expanding that network.
To date, Project HOPE has procured 75 housing containers across Türkiye to address basic shelter needs for displaced populations and responders. Forty units have arrived in Adıyaman as part of the container city currently being constructed. The Project HOPE containers will be located adjacent to University Hospital to support displaced health staff. An additional five containers have arrived in Kahramanmaraş to house health workers identified by the Ministry of Health, and Project HOPE delivered 10 more containers to the Turkish humanitarian organization Dünya Doktorları Derneği in Hatay Province to provide shelter for health workers and essential services such as a public kitchen and laundry service.
Recognizing the need to support earthquake survivors with disabilities, Project HOPE also delivered 150 mobility devices, including wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches to the Gaziantep Ministry of Health. Also, seven infant incubators were delivered to Gaziantep Cengiz Gokcek Gynecology and Pediatrics Hospital, with an additional seven currently en route.
Project HOPE has distributed 3,000 hygiene kits to the Ministry of Family and Social Services in Kahramanmaraş and, through a partner, is coordinating the distribution of an additional 10,000 hygiene kits to camps throughout the affected region.
Extensive rain have caused flash flooding, trapping cars and people and worsening access to basic services. Telecommunication systems are down in some areas and water supply has been heavily compromised.
This torrential rain has impacted both formal and informal displacement settlements for those initially displaced by the earthquakes, flooding tent communities and further compromising the already precarious water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) systems. As a result of this flooding, at least 10 people have died and at least five are reported missing. Among the deceased are five Syrian nationals who drowned in a basement apartment during the March 15 flooding in Sanliurfa.
Project Hope’s Emergency Response Team in Türkiye conducted a rapid needs assessment of camps, health facilities, and other locations serving earthquake-impacted populations in Adıyaman, Gaziantep, and Kahramanmaraş.
After the February earthquakes, over 1.5 million people across Türkiye and Syria were rendered homeless and without necessities. Now, survivors are taking refuge in tents, makeshift shelters, settlement camps, or the remnants of destroyed buildings. To fully recover from this crisis, impacted communities will need coordinated, targeted, and sustained intervention.
Project HOPE has identified the following urgent needs: health clinics and medical supplies; mental health and protection services; access to hygiene supplies and potable water; as well as shelter and essential infrastructure.
Project HOPE is identifying partners to provide MHPSS for health workers, many of whom have been traumatized by the loss they have experienced and/or witnessed. The Adıyaman University Hospital manager conveyed that his team is “often on the verge of tears” due to stress.
Meanwhile, efforts are underway to deliver additional containers in Antakya (20 units) and Kahramanmaraş (20 units) to be used by local authorities to facilitate the administration of essential services to displaced populations. Project HOPE is also coordinating a distribution of 15,000 hygiene kits through a partner to the ten sites assessed for the report mentioned above.
Project HOPE continues to respond to the needs of the impacted populations across both Türkiye and Syria. Currently, Project HOPE is in the process of delivering an interagency health kit to a partner in Syria, which contains one ton of medicines and medical supplies and will support the primary health needs of 10,000 people over the course of three months.
In Türkiye, Project HOPE has delivered generators through the Ministry of Health to a large shelter settlement in Gaziantep, as well as a substantial number of hygiene kits, standard blankets, thermal blankets, and sleeping bags to impacted communities in Adiyaman.
Project HOPE’s team is communicating with local partners operating in Syria to respond to the immediate health needs. This is likely to include supporting program activities of partners as well as the potential delivery of medicines and medical supplies to the impacted communities.
Project HOPE is working to identify additional local Turkish vendors for the procurement of medical supplies, hygiene kits, and generators for distribution to the Ministry of Health and impacted health facilities.
Project HOPE’s Spanish-based partner, SAMU, continues to conduct search and recovery operations with a K-9 team in affected areas. Our Emergency Response Team is also continuing to communicate with partners operating in Syria in order to best respond to immediate health needs.
Our Emergency Response Team on the ground has conducted needs assessments in affected areas and identified access points in Gaziantep, Adana, Adiyaman, Kahramanmaras, and Antakya to inform our response activities and re-establish supply chain routes.
Project HOPE continues to work with our partners to respond to immediate needs, including the deployment of a Type 1 Mobile Medical Team on standby pending government approval. The Emergency Response Team is also mobilizing additional surge support.
Project HOPE has partnered with SAMU, a Spanish-based humanitarian response organization, and Dünya Doktorları Derneği, a local relief organization. Through our collaborations with these partners, we have dispatched a K-9 search and rescue team to the earthquake zone in Türkiye to conduct lifesaving operations at this critical time.
Project HOPE has partnered with SAMU, a Spanish-based humanitarian response organization, and Dünya Doktorlar Derneği, a Turkish-based relief organization. Through our collaboration with these partners, we are deploying a K-9 search and rescue team to the earthquake zone in Türkiye to conduct lifesaving operations at this critical time.
At last count, more than 2,300 people have been killed, 5,000 are injured, and thousands of buildings have collapsed in Türkiye and Syria. These numbers are expected to rise as rescue workers conduct operations. The earthquake struck as a winter storm is affecting the region, so as residents fled their homes they were met with not only near-freezing temperatures, but with several inches of snow on the ground and significant wind chills. These dangerous conditions are affecting not only civilians displaced without shelter, but also the rescue teams.