Geneva/Ankara/Damascus (11 February 2023) - The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is calling on the international community for long-term support and solidarity to the people in Türkiye and Syria hit by two devastating earthquakes on 6 February.
“The level of pain and suffering is immense and the need for support is equally enormous. This humanitarian response is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We call on the international community to support the people of Syria and Türkiye not just in the coming days, but also in the months and years needed for recovery”, said Jagan Chapagain, IFRC Secretary General.
Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent are at the very heart of this response. Both National Societies are rooted in the communities they serve, providing unique access to hardest-hit areas. Often volunteers and staff come from those same communities and may have lost loved ones and homes themselves. They continue to work around the clock to provide life-saving care to survivors.
As the life-saving search and rescue window sadly closes, the most urgent needs are shelter, health and mental health care, food, and water.
The IFRC continues to scale up international support, bringing in urgently needed relief supplies and resources across borders to support localized efforts.
“The aftermath of the earthquake is that of utter devastation. Buildings, schools, homes, and hospitals are destroyed. The most heart-breaking reality is the many thousands still missing and stuck under the rubble. The chances of finding survivors are shrinking. Time is running out fast. Response efforts are extremely challenging. Many roads and other infrastructure have been damaged, limiting access to affected areas. Freezing winter conditions and aftershocks are also hampering those efforts and putting rescuers in considerable danger”, the IFRC Secretary General concluded.
Red Cross Red Crescent Action
In Türkiye, the Turkish Red Crescent has deployed more than 4,000 staff and volunteers in affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items to support those injured and evacuated. Their teams have distributed 3.5 million hot meals among people outdoors and at emergency shelters and reached 284,000 people with ready-to-eat packages. To meet the increased demand for blood, Turkish Red Crescent has sent its national blood stock to the affected regions and is calling on people across Türkiye to donate blood.
In Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have been responding with 4,000 volunteers and staff in hardest hit areas – including Hama, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartous –reaching almost 60,000 people with life-saving support. Medical units have been performing first aid, emergency evacuations and transport to hospitals. Volunteers on the ground have distributed more than 42,000 packages of food, water, basic items and hygiene kits to people, and have been providing restoring family links services.
Red Crescent National Societies in both Türkiye and Syria are providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in need to alleviate distress and refer them for long-term mental health care if necessary.
In the Palestinian Refugee camps in Syria, Palestine Red Crescent teams are working together with Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide life-saving support, including first aid and food distribution. Their response teams are mainly focused on the Palestinian camps in Aleppo and Latakia, providing ambulances, medical clinics, doctors, and volunteers.
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