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Earthquakes Devastate Turkey and Syria

A Turkish family huddles under blankets by a small fire. Behind them is a large pile of rubble that emergency crew members wearing bright yellow vests are climbing over.

Photo credit: Grayscale Media

Photo credit: Grayscale Media


Deadly earthquakes have killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and Syria, and leave thousands more vulnerable amid a harsh winter.

About the Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria

The powerful earthquake of 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale struck Southeast Turkey (Türkiye) and parts of northern Syria in the early hours of Monday, February 6. It was also felt as far as Lebanon, Jordan, and Cyprus. Another major earthquake was recorded a few hours later, measuring 7.5 in Central Turkey, 100 km to the north of the epicenter of the first earthquake, and was followed by several more strong aftershocks. These aftershocks continue to cause significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.

So far, the combined death toll from Turkey and Syria has surpassed 50,000 but is expected to rise as search and rescue operations continue in affected areas.

According to meteorological reports, an impending snowstorm is also looming over the region, which will be adding to challenges faced by the population and the ability of humanitarian agencies to respond.


thousand people

in Turkey and Syria have been killed by the earthquakes.


How CARE is Responding in Turkey and Syria

CARE Turkey is increasing its preparedness to respond by prioritizing the delivery of essential items to people seeking refuge from the earthquake. To date, CARE and partners have responded in some of the hardest hit areas in both Turkey and Syria, delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance to more than 230,000 people with goods or services delivered to help people withstand the blistering cold and find temporary shelter after having lost everything.

CARE Turkey will also continue its existing cross-border operations to respond to the worst affected areas in Northwest Syria, where on-the-ground teams and partners are trying to deliver blankets, food, mattresses, tents, and other non-food items to people in need amid harsh weather conditions. More than 60 percent of the 4.6 million population of Northwest Syria are internally displaced persons and are now facing renewed displacement due to the earthquake.

CARE Turkey hopes to collaborate with the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency in Turkey [AFAD] to deliver essential supplies to people in makeshift shelters across Turkey where people have sought refuge, including schools, mosques, and other temporary shelters allocated by the government.

CARE Turkey is also currently assessing the scale and severity of the damage caused to civilian infrastructure and is establishing the safety and security of staff and their families as well as that of partner organizations based in Gaziantep and Northwest Syria.

“We are hampered by the extreme weather including snowfall over Southeast Turkey and Northwest Syria, making it very difficult for us to access roads, warehouses and supplies that are desperately needed at this current time,” said Sherine Ibrahim, Country Director of CARE Turkey. “We continue to coordinate with other humanitarian groups, including UN agencies, to pull together information as accurate as is possible during such times. But currently, we’re in dire need of immediate support in the form of financial assistance to make sure that those who are out in the cold are able to find warmth, those who are hungry are able to eat, and children who are already suffering from malnutrition are able to survive. Obviously, our priority, at this point, is the people of Southeast Turkey and Northwest Syria, who have been hit the hardest by one of the most destructive and wide-reaching earthquakes to impact the region in recent times.”

*Last updated March 6, 2023