A collapsed building as a result of the earthquake, Syria.

War Child Launches Rapid Response to Earthquake in Syria and Türkiye

In the wake of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake which has torn across north-west Syria and Türkiye, War Child has mobilised a rapid response to meet the critical needs of children and their families now living in the devastating aftermath.

At the time of writing, over 33,000 people - many of them children - have been confirmed dead with more than 8,000 rescued; lifted from the rubble.

In Syria, where War Child are already active and working to support those impacted by 12-years of civil war, the most vulnerable people will now be facing additional and significant hardship that will be putting their lives at risk - with children bearing the brunt.

Losing their loved ones, homes, their access to education and any support services they had, means that thousands of children are now living in unsafe conditions, with their childhoods on hold and their futures hanging in the balance.

“In north-west Syria, 4.1 million people currently depend on humanitarian assistance due to the conflict”, says Lukas van Trier, Country Director for War Child’s Syria Response. “On top of this, these communities are simultaneously hit with a cholera outbreak and harsh winter conditions including heavy rain and snowfall.”

As we enter day four, and rescue missions come to a close, the global response is entering a new and harrowing phase, where the needs of the people will continue to grow. War Child’s rapid response plan will support this next phase through the delivery of critical protection and psychological services to children and families who are now in acute need.  

“My father woke me up to flee the house”, says 12-year-old Kamal who was sleeping at his home in north-west Syria when he felt the ground begin to shake. “We went out to the car and found stones all over it. Luckily, we were able to get out before the roof came down on us.”

Delivered by War Child’s partner organisations in north-west Syria, and supported by War Child’s Syria Response team, the collective will work together tirelessly to roll out the emergency response to reach people as quickly as possible.

While initial efforts are prioritising people’s basic needs at this time such as medical aid and winter clothing, War Child will be focusing on ensuring that vital protection services, psychological first aid and psychological support is available to the thousands of children and families now at severe risk.

But with a funding gap of 48% in the international response to the Syrian crisis, over 100 aid agencies, including War Child, are also now calling for immediate support to prevent further loss of life from the earthquake.

“With partner staff as well as our own directly affected by the quake and its aftershocks, the need for care and compassion has never been greater. Everything we do is for the children”, says van Trier. “But we have a duty of care to those who make our work in Syria possible. This will remain at the forefront as our response unfolds.”

The situation for these children is critical.

Many children are separated from their parents, sleeping in makeshift shelters in freezing temperatures, with no electricity, water or other essential supplies.

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