Teams aim to reach nearly 2 million people affected by earthquakes.
Oxfam staff and partners are facilitating the provision of food, shelter, blankets, and psychological support to people in some of the worst-affected areas of Türkiye (Turkey), including Gaziantep, Hatay, and Mardin.
“Our teams are experienced, having responded to the 1999 earthquake, but we are facing new hurdles getting aid to those who need it,” says Meryem Aslan, Oxfam’s spokeswoman in Türkiye. “We are dealing with destroyed roads, nearly 300 aftershocks, and an unprecedented scale of devastation. The sheer number of fatalities is heartbreaking.”
The earthquakes on February sixth, followed by numerous aftershocks and another strong quake on February 20th, have affected more than 13 million people in Türkiye -- one in every six people. As many as 12,000 buildings have been destroyed and many more are threatening to crumble.
Ali, a father of four from Gaziantep, described to Oxfam staff what it was like when the earthquake hit last week. "We were shaking, and we were so scared,” he says. “I thought this was my last day. When I looked at the walls, I felt like they were moving towards me."
Working closely with women’s organizations in Türkiye
Oxfam, together with our partners in Türkiye and Syria, is working to reach nearly 2 million people--10 percent of the population affected by the quake--with aid and support so that they can rebuild their lives.
In Türkiye, Oxfam KEDV is working closely with dozens of grassroots, women-led organizations to reach up to 1.5 million people over the next three years.
Before the earthquake, Oxfam KEDV was working with 78 grassroots women’s organizations in the affected areas and 600 throughout Türkiye and intends to continue this collaboration in the humanitarian response to the earthquake. (Oxfam KEDV was founded in 1986 and became an Oxfam affiliate in 2019.)
In the next three months, Oxfam and partners in Türkiye intend to:
- Get food to people via food packs (ready-to-eat meals) and cooking equipment in areas where people have lost their homes and shops are closed. We will also provide cash and/or food vouchers where food shops are open. In the long term, we will work with our partners to create job and income-generating opportunities to help people support themselves.
- Provide clean drinking water and sanitation facilities: This includes supplying clean drinking water and setting up toilets and showers in emergency shelters. We will also work with local authorities to reinstate water supplies, sewage systems, and solid waste management. We will raise awareness of how to prevent disease outbreaks.
- Keep people safe and respect their rights: We will set up information hubs for reporting violence, and provide counseling and safe spaces for women and children.
After the strong quake on February 20th, Oxfam KEDV staff in southern Türkiye report they continue to facilitate distribution of blankets, stoves, hygiene items, and power banks to affected families. They are continuing to support the network of women’s cooperatives across affected areas in activities such as preparing hot meals for their communities with food and cooking equipment. Oxfam KEDV also intends to start rehabilitation of a large water storage reservoir which serves a temporary accommodation center that houses up to 30,000 people.
Oxfam providing safe drinking water in Syria
In Syria, the earthquake has caused more than 3,500 deaths with many more injured.
“The earthquake has shattered an already conflict-torn country,” says Abdelkader Dabbagh, Oxfam’s manager in Aleppo, Syria. People do not have a roof over their heads and are stuck in freezing temperatures with no idea where they could get their next meal.”
“Our team is working with other humanitarian organizations to get clean drinking water and hygiene packs to survivors,” Dabbagh reports.
He says Oxfam is already providing safe drinking water to people in Aleppo, and has supported safety checks at 220 buildings and begun fixing water taps and toilets for 1,000 of the most-affected people. Over the next six months, Oxfam also plans to provide cash. In total, Oxfam aims to reach more than 300,000 survivors in Syria.
“This is nothing new for Syrians who have lived and are still living the horrors of over 12 years of conflict,” says Moutaz Adham, director of Oxfam in Syria. “To make matters worse, we are still facing an uphill battle due to years of chronic underfunding, skyrocketing inflation, and scarce supplies of fuel.”
Our teams in Türkiye and Syria are working around the clock to to assist those in need. There is no time to waste. People need help and they need it now. You can help! Please rush a donation to provide lifesaving aid to earthquake survivors.