People in Türkiye and Syria Continue the Path of Recovery One Year After the Earthquakes
Today marks one year since two deadly earthquakes struck Türkiye and northwest Syria, killing over 55,000 people, damaging critical civilian infrastructure, and displacing 3.3 million people. Project HOPE deployed an emergency response team within hours of the first earthquake and has maintained a long-term presence in the region with an office in Gaziantep, Türkiye and continued collaboration with partners in Syria.
Washington, DC (6 February 2024) – Today marks one year since two deadly earthquakes struck Türkiye and northwest Syria, killing over 55,000 people, damaging critical civilian infrastructure, and displacing 3.3 million people. Project HOPE deployed an emergency response team within hours of the first earthquake and has maintained a long-term presence in the region with an office in Gaziantep, Türkiye and continued collaboration with partners in Syria. The response has included initial search and rescue operations; providing housing containers for displaced health care workers; strengthening the local health system; providing access to water, sanitation and hygiene; and expanding primary medical and mental health care.
“Last February’s earthquakes went far beyond just physical injuries and property damage, it left a deep psychological mark on the people of Türkiye and Syria,” said Rabih Torbay, Project HOPE’s President & CEO. “The sudden and traumatic nature of the disaster has led to high levels of stress, anxiety, and fear among survivors and those who’ve lost loved ones. Being displaced, losing everything they knew, and facing an uncertain future have all added to the psychological distress that people in these areas are going through. For Syrian refugees already dealing with the effects of conflict in their home country, this crisis adds to an already heavy burden.”
As part of Project HOPE’s commitment to locally led development, partnerships were established with several local humanitarian organizations in Türkiye and northwest Syria to provide critical services during the emergency phase and recovery phase of the disaster. These services include primary healthcare, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and protection services. The approach focused on a response strategy which supported both impacted communities and the local healthcare system’s recovery.
Project HOPE Response in Türkiye and Syria to date:
- Deployed a K-9 search and rescue team to the earthquake zone in collaboration with SAMU, a Spanish-based humanitarian response organization
- Provided 70 housing containers for healthcare workers to address basic shelter needs in the provinces of Adiyaman, Kahramanmaraş, and Hatay
- Delivered 250 assistive devices, including wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches to support earthquake survivors with disabilities and mobility impairments
- Delivered 39 infant incubators to health facilities in Gaziantep
- Provided 50 Solar Water Chlorination Systems (SWCS) to the Adıyaman Provincial Health Directorate to ensure the provision of clean water
- Distributed 28,500 family, female dignity, and baby hygiene kits
- Supported two mobile medical units (MMUs) in the Azaz and Daret Azza districts in northwest Syria in partnership with Syrian Relief and Development (SRD)to provide basic primary healthcare consultations
- Provided mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) in both Türkiye and northwest Syria
“When the earthquakes first hit, the most affected provinces were overflowing with medical teams and a rallying cry of support from around the world, but in the weeks following, we watched as nonprofits packed up and donations waned,” said Nezahat Yildirim, Project HOPE’s Senior Program and External Relations Manager for the Türkiye and Syria earthquake response. “Over this past year, Project HOPE has remained to ensure that the local health system was on the road to recovery and that survivors have access to essential healthcare and the mental health services they need for the trauma and stress that remains long after the emergency ends.”
About Project HOPE
Founded in 1958, Project HOPE is a leading global health and humanitarian organization operating in more than 25 countries around the world. We work side-by-side with local health systems to save lives and improve health. Our mission is at the epicenter of today’s greatest health challenges, including infectious and chronic diseases, disasters and health crises, maternal, neonatal and child health and the policies that impact how health care is delivered. For more information on Project HOPE and its work around the world, visit www.ProjectHOPE.org and follow us on Twitter @ProjectHOPEorg.