Christian Aid is thanking its supporters six months on from the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.
At least 58000 people died in southern Turkey and northwest Syria when the first of the quakes struck in the early hours of the morning on 6 February. Thousands of buildings and whole communities were destroyed.
The charity says its supporters have raised over £3.4 million pounds to help “tens of thousands of people who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones.”
In northwest Syria, working through local partners and with funding from several donors, Christian Aid has been able to reach more than 60,000 people badly impacted by the earthquake and another 5,000 people in Southern Turkey.
The international development agency distributed winter kits in the aftermath of the earthquake and emergency kits for children and cash to pay for essentials were given to vulnerable families in the weeks and months that followed.
With many people having lost their homes because of the earthquakes, many have been sleeping in the open air or moving to collective shelters. In response, Christian Aid’s partners have set up child friendly spaces so that children have a place to play, de-stress, learn and access psychological first aid.
Since February survivors have also faced torrential rains and flooding and now the extreme heat affecting much of southern Europe.
Karen McDonnell, Christian Aid’s Global Humanitarian Manager for the Middle East, said: “The scenes from this disaster have been heart-breaking. And even before this devastating earthquake, we knew over four million people needed aid in Northwest Syria alone. With the combination of extreme weather events and the spiralling costs of food and fuel prices due to ongoing conflicts making the situation even worse, this is a crisis on crisis.
“But thanks to the generosity of Christian Aid supporters, we are working with local partners to help tens of thousands of people who lost their homes, livelihoods and loved ones. While the situation has stabilised, this is a region where people remain in real need. Our appeal remains open. Every prayer, every gift, every action brings hope to people hit by disaster.”
Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee of which Christian Aid is a member has just returned from visiting the affected areas. He said :
“Your donations over the last six months have been remarkably generous and are helping DEC charities continue to address the people’s most pressing needs, on both sides of the border. It’s clear that it will be a very long road to recovery from this terrible disaster, but we met so many people in Türkiye who wanted us to thank the British public and all who have supported them through the DEC. Thank you to everyone who has donated, we are all incredibly grateful.”