On February 6, 2023, a powerful earthquake hit southeast Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) and the northwest region of war-torn syria leaving millions of people in urgent need of basic necessities like shelter, food, clean water, and sanitation.
Among those affected is Muhammad (name changed to protect identity), a 10-year-old Syrian boy whose home was destroyed. Now living in a makeshift tent with his family, he says, “I want to go back home and return to school. I [miss] school so much.”
Muhammads story is one of many heartbreaking examples of struggles faced by children and families. Even in the face of these challenges, there is hope that vulnerable people affected by this disaster can access vital support to rebuild their lives.
Close to 18 million people in Turkey and Syria have been impacted by the disaster, with over 55,000 dead and nearly 130,000 injured. Millions have been displaced from their homes, with over 10 million in need of urgent aid.
Millions of people in Turkey and Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian support:
- Cities across the region suffered widespread destruction, with nearly 50,000 buildings — including apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals — now in ruins or too damaged to enter.
- People are struggling to access essential healthcare, with only 1 in 7 health centers even partially functional, according to the U.N.
- The loss of safe housing and access to school is making children more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and family separation.
- Children also face exposure to waterborne diseases and hypothermia without access to clean water or shelter.
- Flooding from heavy rainfall six weeks after the earthquake compounded the suffering of vulnerable families. Johan Mooij, World Vision’s Syria response director, said “Syrian and Turkish children and their families are being displaced once again as cars, homes, and tents are drowning in contaminated waters, and have nowhere safe or warm to sleep.”