Today marks one year since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Syria and Türkiye, followed by another of similar strength just hours later, killing more than 50,000 people. Source: Caritas Australia.
Hundreds of thousands of buildings collapsed, affecting some 9 million people, including 3.6 million who were left homeless and internally displaced.
In the earthquake’s immediate aftermath, the Caritas network launched an emergency appeal to address immediate needs such as shelter, food, blankets, and clean water.
“In the months since support has been given to tens of thousands of people struggling to rebuild and recover. From the provision of hot meals to shelter, hygiene kits, and fans to cool temporary shelters over summer,” said Sally Thomas, humanitarian emergencies lead at Caritas Australia.
Beneficiaries include Kamile, who used to live in Ovakent, Türkiye, and had just finished secondary school when the earthquake struck.
“When the earthquake destroyed our house, we set up a tent here. We are a group of six people living here. I have siblings who are 7, 6 and 3 years old. Our father has passed away,” Kamile said.
“Before the earthquake, we used to live in a proper house. But now we have lost everything. My mother is sick, and the cold temperature worsens her health.”
Reflecting on the role of community in their survival, Kamile said: “Our neighbours gave us a heater, thank God. We pulled some blankets and pillows out of the wreckage of our home. Our clothes, all our belongings, we lost everything in the earthquake. Caritas gave us diapers and a wheelchair. Friends of ours helped us provide food, shoes, and clothes.”
Ms Thomas said: “Life remains extremely hard, and the future is incredibly uncertain for families like Kamile’s. People affected are still in need of our enduring compassion and support.”
With the region in its coldest months, and many homes yet to be rebuilt, the care of families is urgent and needed for months.
To support Caritas Australia’s Türkiye-Syria Earthquake Appeal, visit www.caritas.org.au/turkey or call 1800 024 413 toll free.
One year of supporting earthquake-affected communities in Syria (Jesuit Mission)