Terremoto Siria e Turchia: aggiornamento

Türkiye-Syria earthquakes: WFP reaches communities with life-saving assistance as death toll mounts

WFP’s David Beasley: “Lives matter. We care. We’re there.”

WFP is reaching tens of thousands of people with urgently needed food assistance, with plans to scale up sharply following Monday’s deadly earthquakes that struck along the border between Türkiye and Syria.

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“Thousands of lives have been lost,” WFP’s Executive Director David Beasley said on Twitter, “but our teams are on the ground.”

As of Wednesday, WFP had reached 64,000 affected people in both countries with ready-to-eat food rations, family food packages and hot meals. The food being distributed requires no cooking and provides immediate relief for families whose precarious position is made worse by freezing temperatures.

“That’s WFP,” Beasley added. “Lives matter. We care. We’re there.”

In Türkiye, which hosts the world’s largest refugee population, WFP is also coordinating with officials in the quake-hit southeastern part of the country to provide family food packages to camps housing tens of thousands of Syrians, as well as Turkish nationals newly displaced by the disaster.

Working with the Turkish Red Crescent and partners, WFP will also support municipalities in Türkiye’s southeast to reactivate and expand soup kitchens set up during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide daily hot meals to quake-affected families.

Residents of Syria's Hama Governorate gaze at earthquake-damaged buildings
Residents of Syria’s Hama Governorate gaze at earthquake-damaged buildings. Photo: WFP/Photolibrary

In Syria, where the quakes have further complicated an acute humanitarian crisis, WFP and its local partners have so far delivered ready-to-eat rations and daily hot meals to 38,000 people in shelters.

In northwestern Syria, 4.1 million people – more than 90 percent of the population – already depended on humanitarian aid. Twelve years of conflict have displaced almost 3 million people from their homes and left them living in precarious conditions.

“A region plagued by years of compounding crises faces yet another one, with unimaginable loss and destruction. Immediate relief cannot be delayed,” said WFP Regional Director in the Middle East, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe Corinne Fleischer. “WFP’s strong footprint in both countries enabled us to immediately mobilize our staff, logistics capacity and partners to respond to people’s most immediate food needs.”

To meet the urgent food needs, WFP is appealing for US$46 million to support a total of 500,000 people in Türkiye and Syria. This includes hot meals and food rations to 200,000 newly displaced people in Syria and 300,000 people in Türkiye, including 70,000 refugees.

WFP mourns all the lives lost in this tragedy, including one of its own staff members.

Find out more about WFP’s work in Türkiye and Syria.

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IOM – Türkiye and Syria Quakes: The Day that Shook the World

Türkiye – Like hundreds of thousands of other people in South-Eastern Türkiye, I was fast asleep when the world started to shake. I don’t really know how to describe how it felt to anyone who hasn’t felt an earthquake, let alone one of the biggest ever recorded in this region.

It’s just completely surreal. The floor and the walls were shaking, bending, and as we ran down the three floors to the street, our only thought was to get far, far away from buildings.

It was 60 seconds of the worst terror I have ever felt. As we calmed down a bit and realized we had survived the shaking, we also realized it was raining, we were cold, and our legs felt like jelly, like they were not really part of our bodies. Everyone around us was calling out, shouting, screaming.

It took us a while but eventually we found a place to shelter after the urgency of the second quake, in a school. Along with hundreds of others we sat, lay down or stood on the basketball court, getting word to our families that we were safe.

Then I checked in with work and started to assess how I could help, how I could tell them what was going on, how to pay tribute to the wonderful people who were doing all they could to help me and thousands like me.

We spent Monday night in a shelter run by the Government. We felt a few trembles but it was comfortable and we had hot drinks and some food, as well as a place to sleep. Now I’m in the office, catching up on everything, including the heartbreaking news that we lost a colleague. Some others are injured, and have lost family members and, in some cases, homes. Others, like my team member, survived just by a miracle in Hatay.

It’s saddening beyond words. One minute we were sleeping, and the next we were part of one of the biggest disasters on the planet.

Destruction in Gaziantep, the day after the massive quake which has killed more than 5,000 people. Photo: IOM/Olga Borzenkova

Honestly, I am screaming inside, with despair, grief, and fear. But I look at my colleagues, my neighbours, and my friends, who are affected much more than me, and they inspire me to carry on.

Türkiye is, of course, hugely prone to earthquakes and has built a world-class response mechanism. We’ve been working with them for more than 30 years and they are phenomenal partners. But even they will be stretched by this. This is a double whammy – over a million people who fled the war in Syria have temporary protection status in the area hardest hit by the quake.

We are talking to the government to see how best we can help. In all situations like this, the first need is for search and rescue, and I know teams are pouring into the country from across the globe to assist. There will, of course, be massive shelter needs – so many thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people will be homeless and the weather is freezing. They will need somewhere to sleep short term. And they will need warm clothes, water, food, heating, there will be trauma and crush injuries, there will be huge mental scars.

Communities will have been devastated: schools and hospitals will have been damaged, workplaces wiped out. The logistics of aid will be fiendish – roads and runways will need to be rapidly repaired. This will be an enormous rescue, response and recovery operation and we are ready to respond in any way the government asks us to, for as long as it takes.

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