How the Church of Jesus Christ is initiating relief efforts to aid quake victims in Turkey, Syria

The Europe Central Area Emergency Response Committee — organized in 2022 in response to the Ukraine conflict — is coordinating Church relief efforts

In the wake of two massive earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria on Monday, Feb. 6, and have resulted in tens of thousands of deaths, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is helping victims in the affected area recover and rebuild.

The Church is sending an initial shipment of food, clothes, blankets, medical supplies, medicines, shelters, water, sanitation kits and other items to the victims of the back-to-back quakes of 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude.

The update on initial disaster-relief efforts from the Church’s Europe Central Area was published Thursday, Feb. 9, on

The efforts are in collaboration with several relief organizations that have a long-standing presence on the ground in the two countries, with the Church reviewing additional organizations in order to expand the reach of Church funds.

People watch as rescue teams search for people in a destroyed building in Elbistan, southeastern Turkey, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Tens of thousands of people who lost their homes in a catastrophic earthquake huddled around campfires in the bitter cold and clamored for food and water Thursday, three days after the temblor hit Turkey and Syria. | Francisco Seco, Associated Press

The Church’s Europe Central Area Emergency Response Committee — which was organized in February 2022 in response to the conflict in Ukraine — is coordinating relief efforts with the Middle East/Africa North Area.

“We continue to mourn with our brothers and sisters in Turkey and Syria,” said Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, a General Authority Seventy and member of the Europe Central Area presidency who chairs the response committee. “We are deeply grateful to join with skilled humanitarian organizations and give these beloved people comfort and care in their critical hour of need.”

The aftermath of the devastating quakes in Turkey and Syria is only days old and just the beginning of a long healing process. The Church seeks to meet long-term needs of those affected by disasters and is committed to helping Turks and Syrians emotionally, physically and spiritually recover and rebuild their societies, the online report said.

Church leaders in Europe are inviting Latter-day Saints there to help local Turkish and Syrian community groups and organizations in any way they can, as the Turkish and Syrian diasporas in some countries can help identify needs not always covered in larger-scale humanitarian projects.

Also, Church members there are encouraged to use — if available in their country — to find or create community service opportunities.

Latter-day Saints worldwide and others can also donate to the Church’s humanitarian aid efforts.

Rescue workers search for survivor on a collapsed building in the costal town of Jableh, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. The quake that razed thousands of buildings was one of the deadliest worldwide in more than a decade. | Omar Sanadiki, Associated Press

Church leaders are asking members to be patient as service projects and opportunities emerge.

“If we turn our hearts to serve, we will not only help others but will also strengthen our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,” Elder Alliaud said. “Our understanding of Him and in the power of His Atonement will be greatly increased.”

In the predawn hours of Feb. 6, residents rushed outside in the rain and snow after the first quake, with major aftershocks continuing, including one nearly as strong as the first earthquake.

The two strongest earthquakes were centered on Turkey’s southeastern province of Kahramanmaras and felt as far away as Cairo, Egypt, and Beirut, Lebanon.

The Church has a small presence in Turkey, with more than 570 Latter-day Saints comprising nine branches, which are overseen by the Bulgaria/Central Eurasian Mission.

This combination of July 26, 2022, and Feb. 8, 2023, satellite images provided by Maxar Technologies shows buildings and a stadium in downtown Kahramanmaras, Turkey, before and after a powerful earthquake struck the region on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. | Maxar Technologies via Associated Press
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