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Earthquake Rocks Türkiye and Syria

February 8, 2023
Photo credit: MedAir/Lisanne van der Schors

In the early hours of Feb. 6 a magnitude 7.8 earthquake rocked southeastern Türkiye* near the Syrian border, killing thousands of people as they slept, injuring thousands more, and reducing many-storied buildings to piles of rubble. A few hours later, another earthquake, with a magnitude of 7.5, hit the region, causing even more heartbreak and damage. In freezing, snowy conditions, rescue teams are now working to rescue survivors from the debris. World Renew will be responding.

One of the hardest-hit regions in Syria is in the north of the country, where millions have already been enduring the hardships of ongoing civil war, including families in refugee camps on both sides of the Syria-Türkiye border.

Officials have reported that over 11,000 people have been killed and more than 50,000 injured and that thousands of buildings have collapsed. As rescue teams in both countries work to find survivors, it is expected the death toll will rise.

The United Nations reports that Syrian communities have also been struggling with an ongoing cholera outbreak—so together with the harsh winter weather, the impacts of the earthquakes, and the estimated 100 aftershocks that have occurred, families have been left feeling even greater despair as they face increasing challenges in meeting their basic needs.

World Renew has been working with local partners in the region for the past 12 years to provide emergency food, hygiene kits, winter supplies, and other support to refugee and local families. These partners are currently assessing needs to determine how best to share Christ’s hope with the most vulnerable people affected by this disaster.

“Response efforts in Syria will be complicated by the protracted conflict in Syria,” said Jacqueline Koster, interim director of international disaster response for World Renew, “The people living in the the most impacted area of North-West Syria were already living in a state of humanitarian crisis, displaced, hungry and living through a cholera outbreak. It is a very difficult context. But, despite the many challenges, we and our Syrian partners are committed to assisting those in need.”

Donations to support World Renew’s response in Syria can be given online (U.S. | Canada) or marked “IDR-Türkiye/Syria Earthquake” and submitted by phone or through the mail.

“In addition to financial support, our Syrian partners have requested prayers,” said Koster.

Please pray . . .

  • that emergency and medical personnel have the capacity and resources to respond adequately and will reach survivors quickly.
  • for families left homeless by the earthquake, that they may receive shelter and much-needed emergency supplies soon.
  • for wisdom for the Turkish and Syrian governments, that they will provide support where it is needed most.
  • that there will be no more aftershocks and that families will have heat and winter supplies to keep them warm.
  • for humanitarian organizations working in the region, that they can be a source of comfort and refuge for all who are struggling from hunger, poverty, and injustice.

* In 2021 the Turkish government officially changed the country's name, so Turkey is now recognized by the United Nations as Türkiye.