Beyond the rubble, the dreams of Aleppo. AVSI’s humanitarian aid one year after the earthquake

Twelve years of war have broken a city. The February 6, 2023 earthquake left debris in the streets and fear among the inhabitants. In an Aleppo scarred and divided by its tragedies, AVSI works to bring its humanitarian aid to the people. Close to its inhabitants and its stories, so that the city can return to life.

Countries Syria
Date 06.02.2024
Author Reportage by Aldo Gianfrate for AVSI

At 4:20 a.m. on February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude tremor struck Turkey and Syria. The tremors also caused devastating consequences on the city of Aleppo, which was hit after 12 years of war and in the mifddle of a deep economic crisis. Hundreds of people died the morning of the quake. Thousands of Aleppans were left homeless and without basic necessities such as water, food and warm clothing to face the winter. For weeks, shelters housed families who could not return to their homes for fear of new collapses.

"During the war we had only one place where we felt safe: our homes," says Elena Makdis, an AVSI social worker who was born and raised in Aleppo. "The earthquake also took away our last security."

AVSI has been permanently in Syria since 2015, working to support the Syrian people. Since the first hours after the tremors, AVSI staff has been intervening in Aleppo to provide humanitarian aid to the victims. It helped provide immediate medical relief to victims through its collaboration with Saint Louis Hospital and the "Open Hospitals" project. AVSI also supported some emergency shelters set up in the city. It distributed food, basic necessities, winter clothing, and school supplies. AVSI also continued to organize psycho-social activities to help children and young people deal with the consequences of the trauma they have suffered. It has rehabilitated some buildings damaged by the earthquake.

"I hope that life will improve for Syrians, that the crisis will pass and everything will go back to the way it was. Like what happened to me after the accident," says Nanor Tankokia, a girl who risked paralysis on the morning of the earthquake after being swept away by the collapse of a building while running away. She was treated through the Open Hospitals Project and now plans her wedding postponed because of the accident. "I dream that life will improve for all Syrians, that the crisis will pass and everything will go back to the way it was. Like what happened to me after the accident."

Aleppo today, the photo-reportage