Assisting Victims of the Turkey & Syria Earthquake
By Adeline Chetty | Project Administrator (Programmes Department)
On 06 February 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in southern Turkey near the northern border of Syria. Another earthquake measuring 7.5 in magnitude followed nine hours later in the southwest region.
The earthquake had been the most devastating in over twenty years and was as strong as the 1939 earthquake. It was located near Gaziantep in south-central Turkey, which is home to thousands of Syrian refugees. Our teams rapidly evacuated the children from our Bayt Kareem Child Care Centre in Gaziantep, Turkey, whilst in Darkoush, Syria, our medical teams were on full alert to respond.
Following the disaster, Gift of the Givers undertook the following interventions during the course of three months (February – April 2023):
SEARCH AND RESCUE
Search and rescue teams and medical teams with specialised equipment were deployed from South Africa. Additional medical supplies, equipment, consumables, tents, blankets, food, and other humanitarian aid were procured in Turkey.
Approximately 350 wounded patients were transported using ambulances from the Al Rahma Hospital;
Erected two field hospitals to accommodate the largest number of injured individuals;
Conducted surgeries to treat fractures, in addition to providing medical and psychological aid to survivors, medications, and medical examinations;
Provided over 500 wheelchairs; and
Assisted with the transportation of the deceased and assisted the families with funeral and burial procedures.
Provided more than 2000 tents and 7000 blankets, and winter essentials such as clothes and fuel for heating as the quake occurred during Winter;
Supported other camps that accommodated displaced individuals with food, portable toilets, solar-powered lights, and household supplies;
Our charity kitchen increased the number of meals served per day (from 500 to 9000 meals);
Provision of a mobile kitchen to travel between camps serving 600 people soup and bread daily; and
Ramadan preparations – pitched 3 Musalas (prayer rooms) in the refugee camps and provided Iftaar meals for 400 families.
Financial aid was distributed to over 1100 families. Depending on the situation, each family received between $200-$400. Beneficiaries also included rubble removal workers, teachers, and healthcare personnel who assisted in the relief efforts;
Grocery vouchers were provided to 107 Syrian families living in Turkey and had been affected by the earthquake; and
Sponsorship of 63 Syrian children who were orphaned as a result of the quake. Their living expenses will be covered until the end of 2023.
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