News Release

Latter-day Saints Continue to Provide Earthquake Relief in Türkiye and Syria

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to collaborate with several nongovernmental organizations to provide relief to earthquake victims in Türkiye and northern Syria. It is estimated that more than 50,000 people were killed when magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes struck the area on Monday, February 6, 2023.

Even before the earthquakes, 2.8 million people in Northwest Syria were internally displaced by wars in the region, and 90% of the population was already dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. The powerful earthquakes have only exposed more people to the elements and left them without means to obtain food, medical care and clean water.

One of the first organizations on the ground to help earthquake victims was NuDay, a group the Church has often worked with. Early on, NuDay’s teams jumped into action to help with evacuations and to support temporary shelters for those who lost their homes. Local teams helped those displaced with clothing, bedding and winter supplies. NuDay also worked rapidly to procure and distribute medical supplies to local medical facilities that were overwhelmed with wounded patients.

“With the support of [the Church], we distributed food baskets, meals and infant formula — all of which continue to be in high need,” said Huda Alawa, director of development at NuDay. “Now we are working together to develop long-term recovery plans, such as repairing infrastructure, supporting households and rebuilding livelihoods so that the future of Syria can find hope once again.”

One 4-year-old boy, Hassan, was buried in his collapsed building for 40 hours. NuDay’s teams worked alongside the Syria Civil Defence team, known as the White Helmets, to evacuate the boy to a medical facility, where he received treatment. Hassan lost his entire family — his parents and three sisters — in the earthquake, but he is recovering and continuing to receive assistance.

Eleven-year-old Muna and her younger sisters, Rua’a and Jana, lost their home, but their family survived. They were moved into a makeshift shelter with many other displaced families. Their daily meals had consisted of boiled potato sandwiches, so they were overjoyed to receive additional food support from NuDay and the Church.

Amal, 6 years old, had already suffered with her family from food insecurity brought on by the many years of conflict in Syria before their home was destroyed by the earthquake. When she received food from NuDay and the Church, she said, “If it weren’t for you, my siblings and I would have gone to bed hungry.”

In addition to NuDay, the Church has supported several other organizations helping the people of Türkiye and Syria:

  • Rahma Worldwide provided early intervention, including rescue operations, food and other supplies. Its workers also completed needs assessments and communicated this information to other organizations to assist in interagency cooperation. They also located reliable sources of fuel and delivered the fuel to relieve suffering from cold.
  • Mercy Corps provided food, water, sanitation and hygiene materials to 502 newly displaced families living in temporary shelters. Families will continue to receive monthly food baskets and bread bundles from local bakeries.
  • CARE met the needs of 1,900 earthquake-affected families (approximately 9,500 people) living in and around the cities of Idlib and Aleppo in Syria. Heaters have been provided for tents of displaced people, along with mattresses, blankets and kitchen kits. Hygiene kits containing toothbrushes, soap and other personal items were also distributed.
  • MedGlobal supported seven hospitals and health centers and two refugee camps in northwest Syria by building the capacity of medical education programs, supplying maintenance for oxygen generators and providing medical equipment.
  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) targeted another 800 families with shelter, food, mattresses, cooking equipment and warm clothing. Lice have spread in the shelters that have no shower or washing facilities, or insufficient numbers of latrines, so hygiene kits are being provided to protect against the spread of disease.
  • International Medical Corps distributed critical nonfood items, such as blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothing, both in Syria and Türkiye. Essential medicines and medical supplies, such as antibiotics, trauma supplies and cholera kits, will help protect against the spread of disease.

Boyce Fitzgerald, the Middle East/Africa North Area Director of Temporal Affairs, says that the Church will continue to support relief efforts in the area.

“The generous donations of Latter-day Saints throughout the world make it possible for us to help those in need,” Fitzgerald said. “We are trying to serve as Jesus Christ would serve, and we are grateful to join with other wonderful organizations in that effort.”

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