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A mother and daughter living in a temporary tent camp after the earthquake, Turkey. Photo: Delizia Flaccavento/Oxfam.

Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

Millions of people have been affected. Oxfam is on the ground.

 

During the night of Monday, February 6, 2023, a very strong earthquake hit Turkey and Syria. In the morning, another earthquake occurred, this time in central Turkey. The magnitudes were measured at 7.8 and 7.5 respectively. Nearly 56,000 people died and 10 million people have been in need of emergency assistance over the past year. Oxfam is on the ground and in the last year we have reached over 2 million people with life-saving support. 

Support includes cash assistance, winter kits with jackets, blankets and fan heaters, and special kits to ensure women's safety, dignity and hygiene. Oxfam has been working to ensure people's access to food, water and sanitation and secure livelihoods through reconstruction and upgrades. With a local presence, we have worked for the security of already vulnerable groups. Oxfam works with local partners to ensure that their voices are heard in the reconstruction and that their needs guide the work.

"After the earthquake, many people left the area due to lack of shelter, safety and hygiene. They wrote 'WE ARE COMING BACK!" on what had been their walls. When they came back after a while, hope was raised again. I believe in solidarity, together we will rebuild this area. "

- Özge Sağaltıcı, Oxfam's Food and Economic Security Officer.

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1 year later: Turkey and Syria

Destroyed building after the earthquakes, Aleppo, 6 February 2023. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam

Affected many who are already displaced.

The first earthquake mainly affected southern Turkey, especially areas around the city of Gaziantep and the region of Hantay. These are areas where many refugees fleeing Syria are located.

The earthquake also hit north-west Syria, already affected by the conflict in the country and where the majority of the 6.7 million people who have fled their homes are. Since then, Oxfam has been on the ground in Syria, reaching 1.5 million people with life-saving interventions. Your support can save lives in disasters - make a donation by clicking here!

"The scale of the damage is enormous. After two major earthquakes and over 60 aftershocks, people are still in shock and fear, not even having time to mourn their loved ones. "

Meryam Aslan, Oxfam spokesperson in Ankara

What is Oxfam doing in Turkey and Syria?

One year later, the consequences of the earthquake are even more evident: 10 million people are in need of urgent assistance. On February 6, we were on the ground within hours in the worst affected areas to assess the situation and where the needs were. Over the past year, we have reached more than 2 million people in both Turkey and Syria with water, sanitation and food, among other things. We are working to restore people's lives and livelihoods while focusing on the safety of particularly vulnerable groups.

Earthquake survivor receives hygiene kit from Oxfam

A survivor from Aleppo enjoys the hygiene kits Oxfam delivers. Photo: Islam Mardini/Oxfam

'We lived almost in darkness every night'

Khadija is one of those affected by the earthquake. She is a mother of five children and lives in Al Fardous, a neighborhood in Aleppo. The earthquake destroyed parts of her house and it now lacks proper heating and sanitation. The earthquake did not only have physical consequences, Khadija's daughter is now afraid of the dark and has nightmares every night. After the earthquake, Oxfam distributed hygiene kits including shampoo, sanitary towels and soap. Special kits for women were also distributed with scarves, underwear and solar lamps. These allowed Khadija to save money to spend on water and food for her family.

Khadija was affected by the earthquake, she uses the hygiene kits she previously received from Oxfam.

Khadija was affected by the earthquake, she is a mother of five and uses the hygiene kits she previously received from Oxfam. Photo: Islam Mardini/ Oxfam

Local cooperation

We have collaborated with 20 different women's cooperatives in Turkey. The women in these cooperatives are local leaders and together they create a platform to make an impact at local and national level. Working with them allows for a greater focus on the needs of particularly vulnerable groups and meals, food kits and sheets have been distributed.

Members of the Matiya women's cooperative prepare meals for disaster survivors.

Members of the women's cooperative Matiya prepare meals for disaster survivors. Photo: Yalcin Ciftci/Oxfam

The year in figures

This is how Oxfam has been working with the people affected in Turkey and Syria.

In Turkey, we supported the rehabilitation of the Karaçay Drinking Water Treatment Plant and a 3200m3 water tank in Kahramanmaras, giving over 80,000 people access to clean water.

94,124 people in Syria have access to latrine cleaning kits and Oxfam has 30 people on the ground to help with cleaning and sanitation.

326 730 people have received hygiene kits including diapers, soap, shampoo and sanitary pads.

Two bakeries have been fully restored and upgraded in Syria, they can now provide 95,000 people with bread and 5 more bakeries are being restored.

In Turkey, 400 households who lost their income have received vouchers for food and other necessities. The 440 most vulnerable households have been registered to receive cash assistance.

During the winter, we were able to reach 14,457 people in Turkey with winter kits including blankets, fan heaters, umbrellas, jackets and shoes.

17,927 kits for women were distributed, including underwear, scarves, towels and toothbrushes.

Your support is needed!

While we have achieved a lot so far, there is still a long way to go, Oxfam remains on the ground and is now shifting its focus from emergency to long-term support. The work ahead will focus on rebuilding and restoring people's lives and livelihoods.

The simplest, and most cost-effective, way to change the lives of people in war, disaster and crisis is to become a monthly donor. This allows us to plan our work for the long term and to act where the needs are greatest. Together, we challenge injustice and oppression - and take the fight to a more just world.

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