Syria and Turkey Earthquakes: CARE delivering critical emergency assistance to communities in need on both sides of the border

Earthquake response - FCDO delivery

21 February 2023


CARE has delivered life-saving emergency assistance to some communities in the most-hard hit regions in both southern Turkey and northwest Syria since the onset of the February 6 earthquake.

In coordination with the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), CARE has started on February 8 distributions of thermal clothes, blankets, drinking water, hygiene kits, and portable toilets that benefited thousands of individuals across multiple provinces impacted by the earthquake in Turkey. CARE also distributed 56 tons of rice, lentil and bulgur as well as 16 tons of flour to various municipalities in Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Adana.

In Turkey, over 13 million individuals (about twice the population of Arizona) reside in the 10 provinces that were heavily impacted by the earthquakes. Syrian refugees represent about 11.5% of the population of those hard-hit areas. However, today, both refugee and host populations are facing this calamity in equal measure. Accordingly, CARE has prioritized the most hard-hit locations such as Hatay and Islahiye. CARE staff on the ground have also conducted needs assessments in Hatay – a province that has experienced wide-scale destruction – in order to determine the extent and nature of the needs and the necessary response there. CARE will also conduct a similar needs assessment in Islahiye, another of the hard-hit regions of southeastern Turkey.

The needs in northwest Syria are no less critical. CARE Türkiye partners immediately launched into action after the earthquakes hit, and starting on February 7, CARE’s local partners in northwest Syria conducted rubble removal activities, set up collective shelters and provided water trucking and waste management services at the newly established shelters that helped serve at least 83,500 people. CARE Türkiye also worked closely with its partners since February 10, to deliver convoys of tents, mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils, solar lamps, and hygiene kits that were distributed amongst tens of thousands of people in the most hard-hit regions in northwest Syria.

Pre-earthquake conditions in northwest Syria were already dire as almost 90% of the region’s population of 4.6 million relied on humanitarian assistance and over 60% were internally displaced persons (the majority of whom are women and children). The earthquake, like all humanitarian crisis, has and will have a disproportionate impact on women and girls.

Sherine Ibrahim, CARE Türkiye Country Director, said:

“Whether delivering much needed staple food items like flour to bakeries, helping them re-open and make bread available in the wake of the earthquake in Turkey, or delivering to partners essential items like blankets and mattresses and other critical services at newly established shelter sites receiving people who have been displaced by the earthquake in northwest Syria, CARE’s emergency response has helped alleviate the suffering of communities in need across both sides of the border.”

CARE immediately began mobilizing additional resources after the earthquakes hit, whilst pivoting adapting existing programs to respond at scale in northwest Syria, as well as support the response in Turkey.

CARE’s earthquake response will continue to focus on the provision of cash assistance, alongside various shelter, wash and protection interventions and distributions of important items that will help people cope with this new displacement.

Pre-earthquake food security was fragile across southern Turkey and northwest Syria, especially for female-headed households and Syrian refugees, as food baskets’ costs were on the rise due to record levels of inflation and an increase in fuel prices and transport costs. Those who have now lost their housing have also lost their assets, which will have both short-term and long-term implications for recovery, especially for women whose livelihood opportunities are more limited.

The pre-earthquake cholera outbreak in Syria remains a public health threat to the region, exacerbated now by the extensive damage to water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure caused by the earthquake. Many complications related to pre-existing water shortages in northwest Syria as well as new challenges related to reduced access to energy sources will limit the ability to meet the magnified needs of all the affected populations for years to come.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries please contact David Moore, Media Officer at CARE International UK,

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