Across Türkiye and Syria, millions of lives were changed forever on Monday, when two consecutive earthquakes sent shockwaves across the region.
The two earthquakes were the region’s strongest in nearly a century, measuring a magnitude of 7.8 in Türkiye and 7.5 in Syria on the Richter scale and had been just nine hours apart.
Currently at the time of writing, the death toll has surpassed 20,000 and is expected to keep rising in the next few days, with many still missing and critically injured. The United Nations warned that the disaster’s full extent is yet to be known.
At the same time, 6,000 buildings and counting have collapsed, many with residents still inside them. While rescue efforts continue to be the top priority, a scathing winter is threatening the lives of the survivors and those who are still trapped under rubble. The freezing conditions have left these survivors without food, water or shelter.
Just a few short months ago, our team and a few CIP volunteers were in the exact same cities, distributing Winter Aid as part of our Winter Emergency Appeal. On the final day of our team’s Winter Relief CIP, they visited the homes of five refugee families in Gaziantep. The team spent the day checking on the orphaned families, hearing their stories and understanding their struggles.
“Seeing the rubbles and debris brought me back to when I was standing along the walkway of Türkiye two months ago, where the slopes can get as high as my chest level. I feel truly heartbroken hearing the death toll getting higher and higher with each passing day. My team and I were both in Gaziantep and Sanliurfa. We were welcomed into homes of underprivileged families that encompassed nothing but warmth and kindness to us in the 9 degrees weather,” Ameerah, our Business Development Manager shared with us.
“’We have stones instead of tar for roads to help us water the sewage. The stones actually prevent the water from coming in and flooding our homes.’ This was explained and said to me by a volunteer during our winter CIP trip to Jordan, Lebanon and lastly, Türkiye.”
And when asked – ‘Are you happy?’ ‘Has our aid thus far been enough?’ ‘Do you need more?’ – they always, ALWAYS, replied with ‘Alhamdulillah. I’ve been given this rezeki from Allah through you’,” Ameerah expressed with teary eyes.
Currently, our partners on the ground are still unable to contact these families that our team met. The situation on the ground is far worse than we can imagine.
Global Ehsan Relief took a swift response to the calamity through our Global Emergency Response campaign, where we’re working hard with our partners on the ground to supply emergency aid to those affected. Alhamdulillah with the first rounds of distribution being carried out, we hope to be able to push our efforts to help as many people affected as we can.