On February 6th, 2023 at 4:17am, Northwest Syria and Southeast Turkey experienced an intense earthquake that reached a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale. Vigorous aftershocks continued to disrupt the peace, with one aftershock reaching 6.3 on February 20th.
Across the board there were at least 87,000 injuries, 47,000 buildings destroyed and over 47,000 deaths reported. As a result of this, 26 million people in Turkey and Syria were left in an anguished situation requiring assistance according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunate quantities of people woke up to a frangible world crumbling down within their own walls, in a blur of vociferous chaos.
Syrian cities, such as Aleppo, Hama, and Idlib, suffered from a plethora of collapsed buildings. Therefore many people became homeless in the wake of the earthquake, with their personal sanctuary filled with family comfort and cherished memories turned into an unrecognizable pile of misshapen rubble.
Evidently, the timing of the earthquake could not have been more disastrous. The lack of stable infrastructure and buildings forced thousands of people to stay outside during sub-zero temperatures without shelter. Diseases such as hypothermia and cholera became a major threat to children in northwest Syria as a result, living in squalid conditions further intensified their vulnerability towards exploitation, family separation, and ultimately abuse.
In addition, Syria already possessed one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world due to the ongoing civil war since 2011. Making it extremely difficult for the UN and foreign countries to provide assistance when the country is being controlled by various authorities. The quake has also exacerbated Turkey’s superfluous refugee crisis, the biggest in the world consisting of 3.5 million Syrians. It is no wonder that north-west Syrians feel abandoned and are losing their fidelity in international support.
Among the tragedy of the situation, small moments of hope flourished during the effort to recover survivors. For example, in Turkey, eight year-old Yigit and sixteen year-old Melda were rescued providing a paltry amount of good news. Among the retrieved children in Syria, a remarkable baby girl was born beneath the wreckage after her mother and the rest of her family had died. Ten hours after the earthquake, the healthy newborn was rescued and rushed to the hospital.
In order to ensure the welfare of the Turkish and Syrian people during this dire situation, donations are necessary to provide steadfast humanitarian aid. There is no reason to deny a desperate individual the possibility of hope.
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