Creating Hope in Conflict: A Humanitarian Grand Challenge is deeply saddened by the tragic and devastating earthquake that took place on February 6th in Turkey and Syria, which has so far claimed the lives of over 5,000 people and injured thousands. We have supported many innovators working between Gaziantep, Turkey and northwest Syria responding to the ongoing Syrian humanitarian crisis, and now these very responders have found themselves along the epicenter of a disastrous earthquake.
Largescale devastation and dire humanitarian conditions are expected alongside compounded displacements, low temperature conditions, limited shelter and safe gathering points and an already fragile and under resourced health system in northwestern regions of Syria. Below we have highlighted organizations that we have supported over the years and who are currently asking for support or launching emergency appeals.
Please consider supporting these frontline responders:
The White Helmets/Syria Civil Defence: humanitarian volunteers who risk their lives to help anyone in need – regardless of their religion or politics. Known for their distinctive headwear, the rescue workers operate in the most dangerous place on earth and have saved more than 100,000 lives over the past five years. White Helmets has said:
“There is an urgent need for additional search and rescue equipment, heavy equipment, spare parts and fuel due to the number of collapsed buildings and to the damage to existing equipment.”
Hand in Hand for Aid and Development: provides on-the-ground support for displaced civilians recovering from disasters, while creating opportunities for sustainable long-term livelihoods with a focus on the most vulnerable: including Syria’s children, the disabled, elderly and female-headed households. Hand in Hand is currently raising money for fuel, tents, blankets, mattresses, tarpaulins and ready to eat meals. Dr Hussam from Hand in Hand has told us:
“Most of us are safe and will spend this night in cars. [There’s] huge damage […] we lost many humanitarian workers from other NGOs and INGOs.”
Syrian American Medical Association (SAMS): a global medical relief organization that is working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria, … [providing] medical care and treatment to every patient in need. SAMS’ President Dr. Amjad Rass has said:
“Across our operational facilities, we’ve been receiving victims of the quake as they come into our hospitals while simultaneously working to guarantee the wellbeing of our over 1,700 staff in Syria, and 90 at the epicenter near Gaziantep, Turkey,”
WATAN: a civil society organization providing emergency humanitarian aid in the form of shelter, food, and medical aid in the form of medical kits and equipment for Syrian doctors.
UOSSM: provides medical relief and health care services to those affected by the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Turkey and Lebanon. UOSSM focuses on primary care, trauma care, and psycho-social support services, supporting clinics and hospitals with medicine, medical supplies and operating expenses and training, developing, and supporting medical practitioners caring for victims of war.
Field Ready: has implemented a range of relief and reconstruction projects in the earthquake-affected area. Over the years, Field Ready has been working to address a variety of issues in shelter, health and search/rescue. Their work in Northwest Syria included the groundbreaking achievement of making rescue technology locally. Field Ready immediately responded to the earthquake in Northwest Syria by assisting with transportation to evacuate victims from destroyed areas and relocate them to safer shelters. Field ready is now assisting with non food item distributions, beginning with blankets, while scaling up their production of “rescue airbags”, made from locally recovered and recycled materials, to raise heavy debris and retrieve bodies trapped beneath collapsed structures. In light of ongoing shelter needs, they are also engaging children in a new project to develop insulation tents using recycled plastic.