Turkey-Syria earthquake: immediate assistance in Aleppo

We are helping thousands of injured and displaced people in Aleppo, just over 100 km from the epicenter of the Turkey-Syria earthquake, “the most devastating one the region has seen in over 24 years”

  • 94% Raised
  • €3.000.000 Goal

Turkey-Syria earthquake – more than 50,000 casualties, thousands are injured and displaced ‘Most devastating quake in 24 years’

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. Seismic activity in the area remains high.

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
Donate now to help the people affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake
Help us provide immediate aid to the many injured and displaced people in Aleppo
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AVSI in Aleppo and Latakia: urgent aid to the injured thanks to the "Open Hospitals" project

On Monday, February 6, less than 24 hours after the Turkey-Syria earthquake, AVSI took action in Aleppo, just over 100 km from the epicenter. 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.

“The Saint Louis Hospital has only suffered minor damage - Georges Nasrallah, Open Hospitals project manager, explains – but we had to pause our ordinary tasks to accommodate the wounded and treat immediately the most serious cases. On February 6, we treated about 80 people with minor injures, and about 10 who were more seriously wounded and required surgery."

The Saint Louis Hospital has accommodated 246 patients, provided care (medical examinations, specialized medical tests, surgical procedures, x-ray examinations) and medication [as at March 16, 2023].

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AVSI in Aleppo: help for displaced people who lost everything

AVSI manages the reception center set up in Hisham Bin Abdul Malik school, that right after the earthquake provided shelter to 564 people. Over a month later, 396 people are still hosted in this school.
What we are doing:

  • Daily distribution of ready-to-eat and warm meals to all the people hosted in the reception center;
  • Distribution of 200 blankets;
  • 94 children (7 of them with disabilities) living in the reception center took part in daily recreational activities (from 7 to 27 February);
  • 85 children received a winter kit containing: blankets, umbrellas, gloves, beanies and scarves. Since the emergency began, fruit and powder baby formula (57 boxes) distributions have also been carried out;
  • 62 people living in the center were referred to Saint Louis Hospital to receive free medical care;
  • the reception center was equipped with: cleaning tools, 3 diesel stoves, 17 emergency flashing lamps;
  • sanitary items (soap, pads, toilet paper, diapers) were distributed to displaced persons.
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In Aleppo, the situation is dramatic: it's cold, the city is destroyed, and families have lost their homes. The first emergency assistance centers for displaced people have been set up: they need warm meals, blankets, stoves, clothes. 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, in Aleppo after the terrible Turkey-Syria earthquake.

Care for the injured, emergency aid to the displaced: we need you

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.

With the donation you made to help those affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake, we can:

  • Treat injured people at the Saint Louis Hospital in Aleppo and the Latakia dispensary: outpatients are provided, free of charge, with at least one consultation for specialist examinations, prescribed medicine and a transportation refund, including specialized disability services. For specific cases, AVSI also covers the cost of hospitalization.
  • distribute essential items (winter clothes and shoes, blankets) to families who found refuge in temporary shelters and camps, set up after the earthquake by the Syrian Ministry of Education and the Syrian Red Crescent (SARC).
  • carry out money distribution to displaced people: once the very first phase of the emergency is over, these families will need to rent houses, buy tools and materials for small house repairs, furniture (in coordination with local institutions).
  • give out warm meals and food to the most vulnerable people: those who lost family members during the earthquake, those who had to leave their homes.

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.

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.