As nongovernmental organizations and relief agencies work to help survivors of February’s earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, they are receiving continued support from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
At least 50,000 people were killed when magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes struck the area on Feb. 6.
Northwest Syria had already been affected by conflicts in the region, causing around 2.8 million people to be internally displaced and dependent on humanitarian aid. The earthquakes exposed more people to the elements and left them needing help obtaining food, medical care and clean water.
By early April, the Church had contributed over $13.5 million in aid through 20 relief projects. A report this week on ChurchofJesusChrist.org detailed more of the continuing aid.
For example, the Church has been working with NuDay, a nonprofit organization founded in 2013 that provides humanitarian relief to people affected by the crisis in Syria. From the early hours after Syria’s earthquake, NuDay began helping with evacuations and to support temporary shelters for those who lost their homes.
“With the support of [the Church], we distributed food baskets, meals and infant formula — all of which continue to be in high need,” said Huda Alawa, director of development at NuDay. “Now we are working together to develop long-term recovery plans, such as repairing infrastructure, supporting households and rebuilding livelihoods so that the future of Syria can find hope once again.”
The Church has also supported several other organizations helping the people of Turkey and Syria. Those efforts are listed below:
- Rahma Worldwide provided early intervention, including rescue operations and needs assessments to communicate with other agencies. Its workers have also provided food, fuel and other supplies.
- Mercy Corps provided food, water, sanitation and hygiene materials to around 500 newly displaced families living in temporary shelters. Families will continue to receive monthly food baskets and bread bundles from local bakeries.
- CARE met needs of 1,900 earthquake-affected families in Syria by providing tent heaters, mattresses, blankets and kitchen kits. Hygiene kits with toothbrushes, soap and other personal items were also distributed.
- MedGlobal supplied maintenance for oxygen generators, provided medical equipment and built the capacity of medical education programs at hospitals, health centers and refugee camps in northwest Syria.
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency helped 800 families with shelter, food, mattresses, cooking equipment and warm clothing. Hygiene kits are also being provided to protect against the spread of disease and lice in some of the camps.
- International Medical Corps distributed critical care items such as blankets, sleeping bags and warm clothing both in Syria and Turkey. Medicines, antibiotics, trauma supplies and cholera kits have also been distributed to help protect against the spread of disease.
Boyce Fitzgerald, the director of temporal affairs in the Church’s Middle East/Africa North Area, said the Church will continue to support relief efforts in the area.
“The generous donations of Latter-day Saints throughout the world make it possible for us to help those in need,” Fitzgerald said. “We are trying to serve as Jesus Christ would serve, and we are grateful to join with other wonderful organizations in that effort.”