Oxfam, together with our partners in Turkiye (Turkey) and Syria, is working to reach nearly 2 million people – 10 percent of the population affected by the quake – with aid and support so that they can rebuild their lives.
Meryem Aslan, Oxfam Spokeswoman in Turkiye said: “People are living in cars, mosques, in tents or huddling around fires in freezing conditions. Emergency shelters are overwhelmed and over-crowded. Many people do not want to stay in the area with hundreds of thousands having been evacuated out of the region.”
In Turkiye, Oxfam KEDV is working closely with dozens of grassroot women-led organisations and cooperatives to reach up to 1.5 million people over the first three years. Our teams have already provided food, shelter, blankets and psychological support to some of most affected areas including Gaziantep, Hatay and Mardin.
“Our teams are experienced, having responded to the 1999 earthquake, but we are facing new hurdles getting aid to those who need it. We are dealing with destroyed roads, nearly 300 aftershocks and an unprecedented scale of devastation. The sheer number of fatalities is heart-breaking. Topping the list of items needed are body bags to bury the dead. In some areas, communication is also limited which is hampering aid distribution,” added Aslan.
The earthquake has impacted over 13 million people in Turkiye – one in every six people. Over 12,000 buildings have been destroyed and many more are threatening to crumble.
Ali, a father of four from Gaziantep, told us, “We were shaking and we were so scared. I thought this was my last day. When I looked at the walls, I felt like they were moving towards me.”
He added, “It was such a bitter day. I hope we never experience this ever again.”
In Hatay, a city affected by the earthquake, only three hospitals remain standing. It is imagined that the earthquake response will take a year in Turkiye, but the after-effects will be felt for many more years to come.
In Syria, the earthquake has caused over 3500 deaths and many more injured.
Abdelkader Dabbagh, Aleppo Area Manager for Oxfam in Syria said: “The earthquake has shattered an already conflict-torn country. People do not have a roof over their heads and are stuck in freezing temperatures with no idea where they could get their next meal. Our team is working with other humanitarian organisations to get clean drinking water and hygiene packs to survivors.”
We already started providing safe drinking water to people in Aleppo. We have also supported safety checks to 220 buildings and begun fixing water taps and toilets for over 1000 of the most impacted people. Over the next six months, Oxfam aims to reach more than 300,000 survivors.
Moutaz Adham, Oxfam in Syria Country Director, said: “This is nothing new for Syrians who have lived and are still living the horrors of over twelve years of conflict. To make matters worse, we are still facing an uphill battle due to years of chronic underfunding, skyrocketing inflation, and scarce supplies of fuel.”
Oxfam calls on the international community to meet the urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, and to facilitate aid delivery to both countries along with a longer-term plan to support the survivors in the recovery efforts.
Oxfam KEDV was founded in 1986 and became an Oxfam affiliate in 2019. Previous to the earthquake, Oxfam KEDV was working with 78 grassroot women organisations and cooperatives in the affected areas and 600 throughout Turkey. We will work with these partners in our humanitarian response to the earthquake.
Oxfam KEDV is also a member to the National Disaster Response Platform, a network formed in 2020 representing 27 national civil CSOs, which coordinates disaster and emergency responses in Turkiye. All NGOs registered with this platform must register with the Acik Acik Association which is responsible for ensuring the transparency and accountability of NGOS.
In Syria, Oxfam has been on the scene since 2013. We get clean water to people affected by the conflict. We distributed cash and food. We also work with people to rebuild their lives including supporting farmers to start farming again through trainings and distribution of seeds and animal fodder as well as repairing irrigation systems.
Data on the death toll in Syria was sourced from AFP via the BBC.