Episcopal Relief & Development is partnering with Action by Churches Together (ACT Alliance) to provide emergency relief to people affected by the 7.8- and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, the agency said in a Feb. 16 news release providing updates on the disaster situation.
Working through the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) and other local organizations, the ACT Alliance is providing shelter, supplies and support to families and local hospitals, according to the relief agency.
More than 39,000 people have been killed in Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes and thousands of buildings have been destroyed or deemed unusable. Cold weather combined with rain and snow has complicated conditions for those without shelter.
In Syria, an estimated 10.9 million people have been affected and up to 5.3 million may have lost their homes.
MECC is responding in Syria by sheltering 10,000 families in open-air or structurally sound facilities; providing survivors with hot meals, blankets, medicine and trauma support; supplying body bags and other necessities to hospitals; and helping children return to school to bring more stability. Additionally, local organizations are providing winterization and hygiene kits, cash transfers and emotional support for people in Syria.
“We have been partnering with the ACT Alliance for over 20 years,” said Abagail Nelson, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer, Episcopal Relief & Development. “Most recently, we’ve worked together to support families affected by the war in Syria. Partners had pre-positioned supplies in the area. This has allowed us to respond quickly to those who need assistance due to this devastating earthquake.”
Episcopal Relief & Development is communicating with partners working in Turkey and Syria to assess the medium- and long-term needs.
Donations to the Türkiye (Turkey)-Syria Earthquake Response Fund will help the organization to continue to respond to communities affected by the disaster.