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02.06.2023

Earthquake in Türkiye & Syria: How To Help

Project HOPE’s response to the February 2023 earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria helped more than 500,000 people access health services. Learn more about our response in both countries.

On February 6, 2023, one of the most powerful earthquakes to ever hit Türkiye killed more than 55,000 people and caused a widespread humanitarian emergency. 

Within hours, Project HOPE activated its Emergency Response Team to provide essential supplies to the impacted population. After responding to urgent medical needs in the immediate aftermath, Project HOPE coordinated a long-term health and humanitarian response in affected communities in Türkiye and northwest Syria.

In 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 had a major effect on communities throughout Türkiye and Syria, especially communities facing vulnerabilities and those impacted by nearly 12 years of war inside Syria. 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.

In collaboration with trusted local partners, our team implemented shelter, MHPSS, mobile medical unit (MMU), and WASH programs on both sides of the Türkiye-Syria border.

Project HOPE also provided 70 housing containers to address basic shelter needs for health care workers and first responders in Adıyaman, Kahramanmaraş, and Hatay provinces. The containers continue to support displaced health staff from local hospitals and provide essential services such as a public kitchen and laundry.

Syrian doctor examines patient
A health worker with Syrian Relief and Development conducting a mobile medical unit consultation in Ariha, Syria. Photo by SRD staff, 2023.[

In addition to meeting urgent needs, Project HOPE quickly began to pivot to solutions that would support Türkiye and Syria’s long-term recovery. This included installing 50 Solar Water Chlorination Systems (SWCS) to the Adıyaman Provincial Health Directorate to ensure more than 37,000 people living in formal and informal settlements could access clean water. We partnered with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) and Young Lives Foundation (Genç Hayat Foundation) to provide widespread mental health and psychosocial support services to thousands of people who lost their homes, suffered injuries, and experienced PTSD, including hundreds of young children.

Project HOPE also supported two mobile medical units in Syria that treated more than 8,000 people and delivered enough medicines, medical supplies, and equipment to support primary health care services for 10,000 people over four months. Our local partner in Syria, Syrian Relief and Development (SRD) also supported two primary health care centers that were able to expand their services to include medical health consultations, reproductive health, antenatal care, postnatal care and referrals to advanced levels of care. Together, the two clinics provided support to nearly 25,000 people.

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.

arthquake destruction in Antakya, Türkiye
Destruction in Antakya, Türkiye following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on February 6, 2023. Photo by James Buck for Project HOPE, 2023.

How Project HOPE Responded to the Immediate Aftermath

Project HOPE provided broad support during the emergency phase of our response, including 23 interagency emergency health kits (IEHKs) that provided Türkiye’s health system with 29 tons of badly needed medical supplies. We also distributed 28,000 hygiene kits, 39 infant incubators, 30 oxygen cylinders, seven generators, and $56,000 worth of medicines to Gaziantep’s state hospital. In total, our partners conducted more than 40,000 medical and mental health and psychosocial support consultations.

One of the most essential needs in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake was shelter for health care workers who were left without homes. Project HOPE provided 70 housing containers to provide immediate safe shelter, 60 of which were placed next to hospitals and social care centers to house doctors, nurses, social workers, and their families. The other 10 containers were placed at a women’s and girls’ safe space in Hatay.

A year after the earthquake, more than 170 people are still residing in these containers, which have provided clean, safe housing while they perform their critical work.

In total, Project HOPE and our local partners reached more than 500,000 people across southern Türkiye and northwest Syria in the first 12 months of their recovery.

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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