Emergency: Türkiye Syria Earthquake

Catastrophic twin-earthquakes hit the Gaziantep region of Türkiye (formerly Turkey) and Northwest Syria on Monday 6 February 2023. More than 50,000 people were killed.

We worked closely across both Türkiye and Syria with our partners to deliver immediate and urgent humanitarian aid.

Thanks to our generous donors, we then expanded our response, working with communities to look at their long-term recovery needs.

Our emergency appeal has now closed, but you can still help us respond to future emergencies around the world by making a general donation.

The magnitude-7.8 earthquake that hit southern Türkiye, was the worst to hit the country this century and was followed by a magnitude-7.5 tremor.

Buildings were ripped in half, homes crumbled to the ground and landmarks heavily damaged by the violent earthquakes. Rescue efforts to reach the injured and those buried beneath the rubble were further hampered by the extreme winter conditions of snow and rain.

So many lives have been impacted including some of the most vulnerable people like those displaced by conflict and turmoil in the region, many of who are women and children.

How we responded

In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake we worked closely with our partners who are well established in the the hardest-hit communities.

Our response included:

  • deploying 15 metric tonnes of medical aid
  • establishing mobile medical units that can treat up to 1000 patients per week
  • rehabilitating 6 water systems, benefiting over 100,000 people in Aleppo and Latakia, Syria
  • distributing menstrual health kits and hygiene services to women and girls
  • distributing food and non-food items into the affected areas of Türkiye.

Learn more about how our response is progressing 6 months on.

The toll of multiple crises

In Syria, this disaster came at a time when people were already struggling, following years of conflict, economic collapse, a cholera outbreak, and freezing winter conditions.

Plan International, through our partners, will remain with the families as we assess the support they need including protection and psychosocial support.

Protecting children is our priority

Our experience shows that children, especially girls, women and the poorest families, are most at risk of exploitation in a disaster like an earthquake.  Child protection services have been at the forefront of our response, prioritising safe wash facilities for girls and women in communal shelters.

With approximately 2 million children out of school, we’re also concerned that children and adolescent girls are vulnerable and at high risk of forced marriage and child labour.

We want to see more children back in the classroom and are looking looking to rehabilitate schools that were damaged by the earthquake, making them a safe space for children. Going to school is important for children to have a sense of normality, and each missed day is another day without their usual support network.

We will continue to provide psychosocial support for children suffering from trauma, creating child-friendly spaces and helping them with the transition back to school.

In the aftermath of earthquakes, children really do need our support the most…their lives have been turned upside down, and they need support to regain a sense of safety and normality while all is chaos around them.
  • Unni Krishnan, Plan International Global Humanitarian Director

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Rising above the rubble in Syria

When their water system was disrupted by the earthquake, 70-year-old Shamsa and her husband were forced to walk long distances carrying heavy containers of water each day. The cost of buying clean water was an added burden they could not afford.

Plan International, through our implementing partner ADRA, has supported thousands of families like Shamsa’s, by rehabilitating water networks and tanks in their villages.

With their water system now repaired, Shamsa can now access clean drinking water from home.

Now, we can have a shower each day and I can make milk and cheese at my home. I wash the floors and dishes every day, but I am now more cautious of my water usage, and try not to waste it.

Learn more about our response to the earthquake, 6 months on.

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