Tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready-to-eat meals and first-aid kits soon will be headed to earthquake survivors in Turkey and northwest Syria through a grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief. The $10,000 solidarity grant will be handled by International Blue Crescent, a longstanding humanitarian partner of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. According to The Associated Press, the quake death toll soared above 7,200 and still was expected to rise. Donate Now
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey at 4:17 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023, the most powerful earthquake recorded since 1939. In the hours that followed, at least 78 aftershocks were reported, followed by a second earthquake of 7.5 magnitude. Tens of thousands of people have been killed, and responders are still recovering victims.
The earthquake also heavily impacted northwest Syria, where 4.1 million people depend on humanitarian assistance. The majority are women and children. At this time, Syrian communities are simultaneously facing an ongoing cholera outbreak and extreme winter weather events, including heavy rain and snow. The humanitarian response is overstretched due to the devastation and cold weather.
UMCOR has released initial solidarity grants to longstanding partner, International Blue Crescent (IBC) and Forum for Development Culture and Dialogue (working in Syria) to help provide tents, heaters, blankets, warm clothes, ready to eat meals and first aid kits to those who have been displaced. IBC has offices in Turkey.
A long-standing UMCOR partner, IBC, has multiple offices and project sites in Turkey. With the devastating damage to roads, transport and infrastructure, IBC has received hundreds of families in its Kilis Community Center for shelter, warm items, and hot meals since the first hours Monday morning. Kilis is also serving as a major hub for coordination and relief efforts, including for cross-border response into Syria.
UMCOR staff are also in touch with other partners in the region. Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.