March 22, 2023
World Water Day
This earthquake only adds to a crisis already suffered by millions of people in Syrian territory and on the border with Turkey. The population has been devastated by a conflict that has dragged on for more than a decade, by the disastrous economic situation, by insufficient rainfall and severe drought conditions that have caused food insecurity, water crises and cholera outbreaks. This major earthquake will aggravate and worsen an already severe humanitarian crisis.
Doctors of the World has been working in the region since 2008. It supports the local authority to guarantee access to primary health care services, including malnutrition, assistance in epidemics, mental health and psychological support, as well as sexual and reproductive health care. It does so in 14 health centers and mobile clinics that cover a population of approximately 900,000 people in north-east Syria and by directly providing health services in the north-west of the country in 12 health centers, reaching more than one million people.
Our field team has already mobilized in the areas with the worst damage to provide assistance to those who have been affected the most, including distribution of winter survival kits and provision of emergency medical assistance. To respond to the emergency in the short term, we are currently assessing the most urgent needs, in coordination with the local authorities.
This is particularly the case in the Turkish city of Antakya, where Doctors of the World has large teams and is part of the first aid on site: “Our priority is saving people trapped under the rubble. Many are missing” said Hakan Bilgin, President of Doctors of the World Turkey.
Our teams will remain mobilized for the next few days to provide emergency aid to all affected populations in Turkey and Syria, and also over the longer term to support impacted local health systems.
Today, Doctors of the World is launching an Emergency Response Fund to meet the multiple needs (care, food, shelter, etc) of the affected populations in Turkey and Syria. We need your help more than ever!