The extent of the destruction caused by the earthquakes that struck south-eastern Turkey and north-eastern Syria last week are becoming more and more clear. What is absolutely clear, however, is that help is urgently needed. The quake with a magnitude of about 7.8 was felt as far away as Lebanon and Cyprus. Thousands of people lost their lives and almost a hundred thousand were injured. At a stroke countless people lost their homes. We must help as quickly as possible - Caritas aid is underway!
Countless people are still missing in the rubble. Tens of thousands of affected people have lost their homes at one stroke and are acutely homeless in the cold. The affected people must now be accommodated and cared for quickly. Food, water, clothing, hygiene articles, medical and psychological help are urgently needed.
Our colleagues are working around the clock to organize emergency shelters and the priority now is to provide first aid to these people in emergency shelters. However, many will have to be accommodated for longer periods of time. Therefore, we are working on organizing shelters for the people and providing them with food, clean water, clothes, mattresses, towels, cooking utensils, and medical supplies. There is also an urgent need for psychological support and trauma care.
Caritas Austria has been active in Syria since the 1990s. Among other things, we support more than 3,000 children and young people to be able to exercise their right to education. More than 30,000 people receive cash assistance or other support to meet their basic needs and restore their livelihoods. Those structures established over the years in the region now help us to be able to take action quickly and will be active still if the emergency response is over.
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