Turkey-Syria earthquake: immediate assistance in Aleppo

After providing aid in the first phase of the emergency, AVSI continues working in Aleppo to provide care, psycho-social support and essential items to all the people affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake

  • 100% Raised
  • €3.000.000 Goal

Turkey-Syria earthquake – more than 50,000 casualties, thousands are injured and displaced “Worst natural disaster in 100 years in this region”

During the night between February 5 and 6, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria. Its epicenter was located near Gaziantep, a city in South-Eastern Turkey – about 50 kilometers away from the Syrian border. UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths called the devastating earthquake that struck South-Eastern Turkey and North-Western Syria “the worst natural disaster in 100 years in this region” (Ansa).

Terremoto Tuchia Siria mappa
Terremoto Tuchia Siria mappa
syria AVSI - Aleppo
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AVSI in Aleppo and Latakia: what we have already done

Since 2015 AVSI has been steadily working in Syria, with an extensive network of partners and projects to support the Syrian people, worn out by 12 years of war. Our staff, within mere hours since the earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, was on the ground and has been promptly responding to the emergency, but the situation is and will remain dramatic for a long time.

Immediate care to the injured thanks to the "Syria.Open Hospitals" project

On Monday, February 6, AVSI was able to provide immediate relief to the wounded through the St. Louis Hospital in Aleppo and a dispensary in Latakia. Both facilities are part of the project "Syria. Open Hospitals", active since 2017. This over five-year long collaboration has allowed us to be immediately ready to respond to the emergency.

Emergency response

In addition to providing free medical assistance, AVSI supported emergency shelters, particularly in one set up at the Hisham Bin Abdul Malik School, which provided refuge to 564 people since the night of the earthquake.
Some of the activities we have been carrying out:

Distribution of food and essential items

  • 2,617 warm meals and 2,502 ready-to-eat meals distributed to shelters in the first 25 days following the earthquake
  • 525 food parcels (containing food for one family for one month) distributed to earthquake-affected families
  • 600 clothing kits and 200 blankets distributed
  • 579 women dignity kits and 599 hygiene kits distributed
  • 85 children received a winter kit: blankets, umbrellas, gloves, hats and scarves. Since the beginning of the emergency, distributions of fruit for children and formula for infants have also been organized (128 packages delivered)
  • supplying the reception center set up in the Hisham Bin Abdul Malik school: cleaning kits, 3 diesel stoves, 17 emergency flashing lamps
  • 1,530 Households reached with multipurpose cash assistance

Free medical assistance

  • 322 people treated free of charge
  • 25 wheelchairs provided to Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo and Lattakia dispensary for people who suffered physical injuries from the earthquake
  • 1,186 Individuals reached with Psychosocial activities

Education and child protection

  • 120 children involved in psycho-social activities
  • restoration of Saint Joseph's educational center (ongoing)
  • restoration of Hisham Bin Abdel Malak school in Aleppo (ongoing)

Seven months after the earthquake, AVSI has helped more than 2000 families in Aleppo.

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Care, home restorations, distribution of essential goods - together, we can do more for the people affected by the earthquake in Syria:

  • restore 37 houses damaged by the earthquake (18 houses restoration done)
  • distribute dignity kits and hygiene kits
  • distribute food parcels to the most vulnerable people: those who lost family members during the earthquake, those who had to leave their homes
  • treat the injured at the Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo and Latakia dispensary: outpatients are provided with at least one free consultation for specialist examinations, prescribed medicine and transport refund, including specialized services for people with disabilities. In some specific cases, AVSI also covers the cost of hospitalization
  • offer psychological support

In Aleppo, the situation is dramatic: the city is destroyed, so many families have lost their homes. People do not have the strength to face yet another emergency after the war, economic sanctions, financial crisis, COVID and cholera.

These are the words of Filippo Agostino, AVSI Syria country representative

AVSI in Syria: the health crisis and the Open Hospitals campaign

In 2017, AVSI launched the Open Hospitals campaign, promoted by the Apostolic Nunciature in Damascus and supported by the Dicastery for Promting Integral Human Development to ensure free health care to poor patients in three Syrian nonprofit hospitals and, later on, 4 dispensaries. Over the years, this campaign has been supported by thousands of donors (individuals, companies, foundations, institutions), and especially by the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI) both through the 8x1000 (funds donated by Italian taxpayers) and direct contributions.

8x1000 chiesa cattolica

The Open Hospitals project has become necessary in view of the unparalleled health crisis the country has been going through: nearly 11.5 million people, 40% of them children, do not receive adequate medical care; more than 2 million people in the Aleppo district and more than 1 million in Damascus don't have access to hospitals. The national health care system cannot cope with the demand for treatment, and families are unable to pay health care fees.

"Syria. Open Hospitals" has consolidated our presence in the country over the years and it has now allowed us to take immediate action, assisting the many injured and displaced people in Aleppo.

As a matter of fact, the Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo is one of the hospitals AVSI supports through the project, and to date it has provided 100,000 free treatments to poor Syrians.

In Syria AVSI also works in the fieldIn Syria, AVSI also works in the fields of education and economic strengthening, with a special focus on women.