Devastating earthquakes strike Syria and Türkiye
Thousands of children at risk in aftermath of destruction.
Thousands of children and families are at risk after two devastating earthquakes and numerous aftershocks hit south-east Türkiye and Syria on February 6, 2023.
The collective death toll in Türkiye and north-west Syria has increased to more than 21,000, with tens of thousands more people injured. Thousands of homes and other buildings have been destroyed, displacing families and exposing them to the elements at a time of year when temperatures regularly drop below freezing and snow and freezing rain are common. Scores of schools, hospitals and other medical and educational facilities have been damaged or destroyed by the quakes, vastly impacting children.
UNICEF needs your support to help save lives
In Syria, where children already face one of the most complex humanitarian situations in the world, UNICEF is stepping up humanitarian assistance to children and families affected, in coordination with partners, whilst assessing the impact of the earthquakes. One immediate focus is on ensuring affected children and families have access to safe drinking water and sanitation services – critical in preventing illness in the early days of a crisis. UNICEF is urgently assessing the impact on main water stations and identifying any interruption or damage to services while urgently prioritizing providing safe water to those displaced.
Another high priority is child protection, including working to identify separated and unaccompanied children and trying to reunite them with family. UNICEF is also working on providing children with psychosocial support as many children were likely traumatized by the earthquake, the strongest they’ve experienced.
In Türkiye, UNICEF continues to coordinate with the Government, and the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency on the emerging needs linked to the wider humanitarian response. UNICEF’s response is focused on child protection, providing immediate psycho-social support, operationalization of child friendly spaces and temporary learning spaces, assessing of main water stations and respective services, as well as health and nutrition needs. UNICEF is also supporting the Government on providing warm winter clothing and blankets for thousands of children and babies, hygiene kits for displaced families, and mother-baby kits.
UNICEF in emergencies
UNICEF is on the ground before, during, and after emergencies, working to reach children and families with lifesaving aid and long-term assistance.
When a sudden onset emergency such as an earthquake or hurricane strikes, it's children who suffer first and suffer most. At the onset of an emergency – whether it’s a conflict or a natural disaster – UNICEF is capable of delivering pre-positioned life-saving supplies within 72 hours from a network of supply hubs around the world.
In emergencies, children suffer first, and most.
But the work does not stop at delivery. UNICEF works with Governments and partners to ensure assistance continues to have a positive impact in the long term, so that children can hope to enjoy healthy lives and fulfill their dreams.