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A Window of Hope

January 31, 2024
Photo: Bahar Organization

After 12 years of hostilities and a persistent economic crisis, families in Syria saw their situation grow worse when two back-to-back earthquakes that were followed by thousands of aftershocks struck northern Syria and southern Türkiye in February 2023.

World Renew’s local church partner, which had been actively addressing the food and other essential needs of vulnerable families in the region for the past 12 years, was able to respond quickly to this new crisis by going directly to Aleppo and Latakia, the most severely affected cities in Syria, to assist displaced families whose homes had been damaged or destroyed. The church partner also opened its doors, utilized church members’ homes, and provided shelter along with essential supplies such as food, medicine, heating, lighting, and clothing.

The church partner witnessed overwhelming loss and heartbreak and heard the devastating stories of family after family, including that of Marwan, his wife, Fahima, and their seven children, whose rented five-story building collapsed during the initial earthquake. Fahima lost her life while cradling their five-month-old son, who died in her arms. Though the rest of the family survived and was rescued from the rubble, the three-year-old twins, Shams and Samer, had to undergo amputations, and Marwan and the remaining children suffered severe fractures.

The grieving father, grappling with the loss of his wife and son and the destruction of their home, contemplated suicide. The church partner intervened, providing care for the children and addressing their immediate needs. They facilitated the children's enrollment in school and secured a job for Marwan, which helped to give him a renewed sense of purpose and hope. 

Marwan and his family are one among many families who have endured heartbreak but have felt Christ’s love through the generosity of World Renew supporters. In the first three months following the earthquakes, World Renew’s local partner reached 40,329 people with food assistance and hygiene kits; 38,487 people with winter support, including blankets, jackets, and pullovers; and 16,905 individuals with diapers.

A pastor working to support affected families in the region explained that when families thank him, he says, “‘This assistance is not from us; we are only instruments. This assistance is from God.’ They see me wearing my collar and my cross, and they appreciate the love and dignity with which we treat everyone. We believe it gives them a good image of the love of Christ.”

With the ongoing economic crisis in Syria, 16.7 million people remain in need of humanitarian assistance. World Renew continues to work with its local partner to provide food and other emergency essentials to families struggling with hunger and poverty.