As many as 23 million people in southeast Türkiye and bordering Syria are affected after two earthquakes (magnitudes of 7.7 and 7.6) struck February 6, followed by several additional powerful quakes earlier this week.
More than 9,000 volunteers and staff from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent have been on the ground helping since the first two earthquakes struck. The two Red Cross Societies are at the very heart of this response. Many have been affected themselves, having lost their homes and loved ones, yet continue to respond around the clock to provide lifesaving care each day. Learn more in this video.
The latest quake was smaller in magnitude but reports indicate some lives have been lost and more people are injured. More buildings have collapsed, health care services are disrupted, and more evacuations have taken place. The earthquakes caused severe disruptions to sanitation and access to safe water.
DIRE SITUATION “The full impact of this earthquake is still unfolding. The situation on the ground is rapidly changing, and needs are growing by the minute. For survivors, these are some of the hardest moments of their lives and the road to recovery will be long. The most urgent needs are shelter, health care and sanitation, food and water. People are also facing major distress – early access to mental health and psychosocial support is critical,” said Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Hundreds of aftershocks are still being felt across the region. Many are leaving the earthquake-impacted areas, seeking shelter with relatives, in neighboring cities, in emergency shelters and tented camps. Others do not want to leave the only homes and land they know, still sleeping in their cars or in unsafe conditions, exposed to freezing temperatures.
Temporary shelters remain critical, giving evacuated families a warm place to stay as they figure out their next steps. Many people are living in temporary shelters where hygiene measures are hard to maintain.
Red Cross and Red Crescent teams are providing first aid and assisting with medical evacuations in this final stage of rescue efforts, while thousands of responders provide shelter, food, water, blood, emergency aid supplies, medical care and mental health support in the hardest hit areas. Teams are also working diligently to help reconnect loved ones separated as a result of the crisis.
Humanitarian needs are vast among the hundreds of thousands of people who were facing hardship before the earthquake struck – including those who have fled conflict in Syria and Türkiye. The IFRC and the Turkish Red Crescent will continue to support people fleeing conflict
RED CRESCENT RESPONSE IN TÜRKIYE The Turkish Red Crescent has deployed more than 5,000 staff and volunteers in ten affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items to support those injured and evacuated. As of February 15, teams have distributed more than 31 million hot meals to people outdoors and at emergency shelters. To meet the increased demand for blood, Turkish Red Crescent has sent its national blood stock to the affected regions and is calling on people across Türkiye to donate blood.
RED CRESCENT RESPONSE IN SYRIA Syrian Arab Red Crescent teams have been responding with 4,000 volunteers and staff in the hardest hit areas – including Hama, Aleppo, Lattakia and Tartous – providing healthcare and medicines for more that 37,000 people. Medical units have been performing first aid, emergency evacuations and transport to hospitals. Volunteers on the ground have distributed more than 630,000 relief items such as food, water, basic relief supplies and hygiene kits, and have been helping people connect with loved ones separated by the crisis.
Both Red Crescent teams are providing mental health and psychosocial support to those in need to help alleviate distress and refer them to long-term mental health care if necessary.
In Palestinian Refugee camps in Syria, Palestine Red Crescent teams are working together with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent to provide lifesaving support, including first aid and food distribution. Response teams were focused on Palestinian camps in Aleppo and Latakia, managing ambulances, medical clinics, doctors, and volunteers.
GLOBAL RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT RESPONSE The earthquake has prompted a huge wave of solidarity from the IFRC network: dozens of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies from around the world have offered technical support. Many of them have already supported the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent with emergency relief items. The American Red Cross is supporting relief efforts with information management and communications, ensuring relief efforts are well coordinated across the global Red Cross Red Crescent network and is mobilizing other resources to assist as requested.
BLOOD SERVICES At this time, the American Red Cross is not shipping blood products to Türkiye and Syria. The American Red Cross does not ship blood products outside the U.S. without a specific request from the U.S. State Department for U.S. citizens overseas, from the United Nations, or unless we have request from the affected Red Cross or Red Crescent society abroad.
HOW TO FIND A MISSING LOVED ONE Those unable to get in touch with U.S. citizens missing in Türkiye or Syria should contact the U.S .Department of State Overseas Citizens Services Office online or at 1-888-407-4747. More information can be found here.
If you are searching for loved ones in Türkiye please contact the Turkish Red Crescent at Tracing@kizilay.org.tr. If you are searching for loved ones in Syria, please contact these phone numbers: Aleppo: +963 (0)950000822; Hama: +983 (0)9950000824; Latakia: +963(0)950000827; Tartus: +963 (0)950000928.
CAN I VOLUNTEER OR DONATE IN-KIND GOODS? The American Red Cross sends highly specialized and experienced professionals with technical skills and expertise abroad only after the Red Cross or Red Crescent team requests assistance. Those not already on the Red Cross’s international disaster roster will not have the opportunity to deploy at this time. We encourage you to connect with your local Red Cross chapter for future opportunities or to visit redcross.org/volunteer for more information.
While we are grateful for the outpouring of support, it’s important to know that neither the American Red Cross, nor our global Red Cross partners, are accepting the donation of in-kind goods such as food, clothing, blankets or toys at this time. These items can be difficult to manage on the ground and divert resources from our mission.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Increased global support and solidarity to deliver humanitarian assistance are essential in the weeks and months of recovery ahead. You can donate to support the earthquake response through the American Red Cross. For those interested in helping people affected by the Türkiye (Turkey) earthquake, we ask that they write “Türkiye (Turkey) earthquake” in the memo line of a check and mail it with a completed donation form to the address on the form or to their local Red Cross chapter. Your donation enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster.
As the scale of the earthquake’s devastation in Syria and Türkiye becomes clearer, the IFRC is increasing its Emergency Appeals to 650 million Swiss francs to respond to rising humanitarian needs in both countries. Donate directly to @IFRC here.