On Monday, February 6, a series of powerful earthquakes struck southern Türkiye (Turkey) near the border with Syria. The quakes caused extensive damage and loss of lives. At time of writing, the death toll has surpassed 20,000 people, and thousands more are missing.
The winter weather makes the situation even more dire for people who are without shelter, warm clothes, blankets, water, and food. Some of the people affected by the earthquake were already displaced by conflict.
Today, people need emergency shelter, blankets, mattresses, clean water, food, and hygiene items.
We join Mission & Service partners the Middle East Council of Churches, ACT Alliance, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and the Humanitarian Coalition to show tangible support for the people of Türkiye and Syria.
You can be a part of these efforts by donating now. Thank you for your generosity.
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Note: As part of the United Church’s Emergency Response Fund, 100% of your donation goes directly to emergency relief, with 85% of your donation responding to this designated emergency and 15% responding to future emergencies that do not receive intense media coverage. Donations to Mission & Service enable the United Church to cover all of the costs of emergency response work without deducting any fees from your donation.
The Situation in Türkiye (Turkey) and northern Syria
On Monday, February 6, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Türkiye (Turkey) and on the border with Syria. Followed by another tremor registering 7.6, the quakes were felt as far as Lebanon and Cyprus. More than 20,000 people have been killed in Türkiye and northern Syria, and the toll is expected to rise on both sides of the border. The early morning 7.8-magnitude earthquake was centred about 20 miles from Gaziantep, a major city and provincial capital in Türkiye. First responders and the international community are working hard to rescue people trapped under the rubble. Many homes and community buildings have been destroyed. Hospitals have also been damaged, and acutely injured and traumatized people are struggling to find help. The winter weather, damaged infrastructure due to the prevailing conflict, and previous displacements of people are making an already difficult situation worse.
The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), whichis a partner of The United Church of Canada, and ACT Alliance (of which The United Church of Canada and MECC are members) are responding in some of the hardest-hit areas in Türkiye and northern Syria. The MECC is implementing a rapid response by meeting the needs of people seeking shelter in churches and in public schools with items such as blankets, mattresses, food, water, and hygiene items right now, until the situation becomes more stable and the longer-term needs of people are assessed. ACT Alliance members are active in Türkiye and have initiated a rapid response. Thanks to previous donors to the Global Emergency Response fund, The United Church of Canada has made an immediate grant of $20,000 to support their efforts.
The impact of the most recent earthquake is all the more devastating because of ongoing conflict that has displaced millions of people and damaged much-needed infrastructure (such as hospitals), a severe economic downturn, and the COVID pandemic.
MECC and ACT Alliance continue to assess the immediate and ongoing needs of the communities. The United Church of Canada is committed to working with Mission & Service partners MECC, ACT Alliance, and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, we have joined the Humanitarian Coalition to call on Canadians to show tangible support for the people of Türkiye and Syria.
We will share more information with you as soon as we can.
Thank you for your prayers and generous support.
- Turkiye-Syria Earthquake Slides (1.35 MB) (PDF)