Church’s aid to Turkey, Syria totals more than $5 million

The Church is working with several organizations to send food, tents, medical supplies and clothing to earthquake victims

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has provided more than $5 million in aid to earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria, including food, tents and medical supplies, as leaders work with several relief groups.

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Feb. 6. In Turkey, more than 43,500 people died in the massive earthquake and the combined death toll for both Turkey and Syria is more than 47,200, officials announced this week. In Turkey, officials estimate that at least 164,000 buildings have collapsed or will need to be demolished, according to news reports.

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks struck Monday, Feb. 20, in Turkey and was felt in Jordan, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon and Egypt, the Associated Press reported. That earthquake’s epicenter was in Turkey’s Hatay province, which was one of the areas devastated by the Feb. 6 earthquake. 

A man rides a motorcycle past debris from destroyed buildings in Samandag, southern Turkey, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. | Emrah Gurel, Associated Press

“The losses and suffering caused by these earthquakes have been staggering,” said Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé in a report on the Church’s United Kingdom Newsroom. “Our hearts and prayers truly go out to our brothers and sisters in Türkiye and Syria. We are deeply grateful that we as a Church have the means to help them now and in their long journey to rebuild.”


Church leaders are working with Project Hope and the Adventist Development and Relief Agency, or ADRA, to provide food, water, shelter, health clinics, heaters, coats, medical supplies, hygiene kits, blankets, baby items and generators.

Forty large tents, which can accommodate up to 20 people each, are being sent to Turkey through the Church’s area office in Germany, along with clothing for men, women and children.

The Turkish Consulate in Frankfurt has created a collection center to ensure reliable delivery of donations from Germany to earthquake victims.


Church leaders are working with several organizations, including MedGlobal, Mercy Corps, the International Medical Corps and Rahma Worldwide, supporting their work, which includes providing medical care for tens of thousands of people, along with food, water, shelter, blankets, fuel, hygiene kits, baby supplies and sanitation services.

“This response is a manifestation of our commitment to the two great commandments. We show our love to God by reaching out to provide relief to His children, whatever their location or background,” said Blaine R. Maxfield, managing director of the Church’s Welfare and Self-Reliance Services. “It would be hard to overstate our gratitude for the wonderful aid organizations who work alongside us to make this response possible, or to the members and friends of the Church who give so generously in these times of great need.”

A man walks past destroyed buildings in Antakya, southeastern Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023. The death toll in Turkey and Syria rose to eight in a new and powerful earthquake that struck two weeks after a devastating temblor killed nearly 45,000 people, authorities and media said Tuesday. | Unal Cam, Associated Press

Church leaders’ statements 

Following the Feb. 6 earthquake, the the Europe Central Area presidency —  Elder Massimo De Feo, president, and his counselors Elder Erich W. Kopischke and Elder Rubén V. Alliaud —  shared a statement of empathy and support. 

“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of many lives as a result of the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria,” the statement reads. “We express our love and support to the people of those countries as they deal with this terrible tragedy.

“Our prayers, and the prayers of Latter-day Saints across Europe, are with them as they begin to recover from this disaster. The Church is currently reaching out to other relief organizations, both globally and in-country, to offer assistance.”

Also, leaders in the Relief Society, Young Women and Primary general presidencies shared their thoughts and concerns on social media. 

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.

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Europe Central Area presidency offers statement of empathy, support following quake that devastates Turkey, Syria
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