Early in the morning on February 6, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkiye and northwest Syria causing massive damage. Later that day a second earthquake of 7.5 magnitude struck the region, increasing the level of impact.
At least 45,900 deaths and 108,000 injuries were confirmed by the Government of Turkiye and close to 160,000 buildings collapsed or were badly damaged. The government issued a Level 4 alarm calling for international assistance.
More than 7,200 deaths and 10,000 injuries were reported in northwest Syria. At least 8.8 million people were affected in Syria, the majority of whom relied on humanitarian assistance to meet their basic needs prior to the earthquake. This is an extremely vulnerable population and this emergency added tremendous pressure to an already overstretched response.
7.8 M EARTHQUAKE
GlobalMedic quickly mobilized our resources to respond. We deployed our Rapid Response Team in early February to begin conducting needs assessments and connecting with our local partners. The teams carried in 9 AquaResponse3 Water Purification Systems and 1 AquaResponse10 Water Purification System. We also worked to procure 35 locally made systems with the same specifications. These point-of-source water purification units can support over 2,000 people each day. The units can be installed in hospitals or other public community areas and can be operated with generators to provide clean drinking water to a large number of people. This response is critical to safeguard the health of affected families and eliminate the risk of waterborne disease outbreak.
The teams worked to install these systems in a number of locations including at World Central Kitchen sites. These WCK sites were feeding thousands of people a day and the installation of our AR systems allowed them to ensure that all water used to prepare food and consume at the site is clean and safe. Additionally, the teams installed units at multiple medical clinics where it is key for clean water to be accessible at all times. We also installed units across Hatay, one of the hardest hit areas, to provide clean drinking water for rural communities since their potable water sources had been disrupted.
Some of the primary needs identified by our teams were access to food, hygiene items and underwear. Many people who were displaced from their homes were living in temporary or makeshift accommodations and did not have access to these basic needs. We purchased 4,252 food hampers, 6,850 hygiene kits, 8,600+ additional hygiene items, and 14,500 pieces of underwear which have been distributed in the Hatay region.
Due to the makeshift living conditions in which so many people were living, firewood was initially something that was key to maintain access to. February and early March temperatures were low and we procured and distributed 20 tons of firewood to allow families to keep themselves warm. Close proximity living combined with minimal access to hygiene supplies has resulted in the rampant spread of lice and scabies. GlobalMedic distributed lice shampoo and ointment to help treat bites and prevent further spread.
GlobalMedic launched a response in Syria, where immense devastation also occurred. We procured 12 locally made water purification systems with the same specifications as our AquaResponse systems. We trained our local partners on the operation and maintenance of these systems and they were then transported across the border for use inside Syria.
Our volunteers in Canada prepared Family Emergency Kits and Emergency Food Kits to ship and distribute to affected families. Family Emergency Kits are designed to help families address the critical issues that they face in the wake of disaster. Each Family Emergency Kit contains a Point of Use Water Purification Solution, and essential hygiene items. These kits can provide an entire family with safe, clean drinking water and help to keep families clean and healthy, which can prevent further illness. They also contain solar lights. Emergency Food Kits contain a mixture of culturally appropriate pantry items to supplement a families’ diet. We are also adding in water purification tablets and solar lights to the food kits to provide additional resources to affected families. We have shipped 9,440 Emergency Food Kits and 4,320 Family Emergency Kits to our partners in Syria.