Hope and Resilience in Türkiye and Syria
Hope and Resilience in Türkiye and Syria
One year on from the aftermath of disaster, UNICEF demonstrates unwavering commitment to kids in need.
It’s been one year since two devastating earthquakes and multiple aftershocks struck Türkiye and Syria, leaving behind a trail of destruction and loss. The pain and sorrow felt during those dark days were immeasurable.
Children and families were left without access to essential services including safe water, education, and medical care. But even in the darkest of times, there’s always a glimmer of light. Thanks to the support of our donors, UNICEF was able to quickly scale up its response in the aftermath to help communities build back.
UNICEF’s immediate emergency response
In times of crisis, every moment counts. That's why UNICEF springs into action, swiftly providing life-saving essentials like clean water, vaccines, medical supplies, and nourishment to vulnerable children and families worldwide. Our dedicated team ensures that help reaches those in greatest need within a remarkable 48 hours.
UNICEF Family Hygiene Kits are distributed to families at a camp in Syria for families displaced by the earthquakes. These kits contain essentials like soap, towels, and sanitary products to ensure cleanliness and health.
Before the devastating earthquakes struck Syria and Türkiye, UNICEF had already established a strong presence in these regions. With our dedicated staff and strategically positioned supplies, we were able to rapidly deliver emergency aid to the affected areas.
Access to clean drinking water was provided to families in affected areas by whatever means necessary. By trucking water in, repairing damaged water supply systems, purifying water sources and installing extra water storage, we've brought access to safe water for 6.3 million people across both countries.
A staff member from one of UNICEF's partners fills water tanks with safe drinking water for families displaced and living in the Al-Kamuna Camp, Syria.
"Clean water is essential for our survival and having it readily available has been a blessing. It has saved us from further suffering and allowed us to focus on rebuilding our lives."
- Zeynep, a resident of a temporary settlement in Küçük Dalyan Tent Camp, Türkiye
Helping communities rebuild and recover
Every child has unique needs. By providing financial assistance to families in times of emergencies, they're empowered to allocate their funds based on their individual circumstances. This gives them the freedom to choose how to prioritise their expenses, whether it's for food, shelter, education, or other vital necessities.
Within a few days of the earthquakes, UNICEF started issuing emergency cash assistance to affected families. This crucial support was designed to assist approximately 24,000 families in Syria over the course of a year, ensuring their basic needs were met during this challenging time.
15-year old Hasan’s education was his mother’s priority. In 2022 – before the earthquakes – she registered him for UNICEF’s Cash Transfer for Basic Needs programme. A significant portion of the support provided went towards covering Hasan's educational expenses, including school fees and classes. However, the devastating earthquakes completely transformed their lives.
The building that Hasan lived in collapsed during the quakes, resulting in the heartbreaking loss of his mother, stepfather, sister, and two step-sisters. While Hasan and his younger stepsister miraculously survived, they suffered severe injuries.
Recognizing their dire circumstances, the family received additional cash assistance, which was entrusted to Hasan's loving uncle who embraced him as his own child. This financial support covered the surgical expenses associated with Hasan's multiple injuries, including significant damage to his leg and arm.
With the successful surgeries that brought Hasan closer to walking again, he had the opportunity to continue his studies from home and successfully complete all his exams.
“My mother’s last wish was for me to pass Grade 9. I made her wish come true.”
Similar to Hasan's situation, numerous families sought safety and evacuated their homes, finding refuge with their loved ones or in communal shelters such as schools. This had a profound effect on the well-being, daily routines, and education of the children impacted.
Four-year-old Masa, was among the many children who had the opportunity to attend a UNICEF-supported early childhood education class. This provided him with a secure and nurturing environment where he could learn and grow. Education and play are essential components in restoring a sense of normalcy for children affected by the earthquakes.
Hope for a brighter tomorrow
Our commitment extends far beyond immediate earthquake response. UNICEF's mission is to empower communities to emerge even stronger from the devastation they've. endured.
In the remote regions of Syria devastated by the earthquakes, UNICEF is actively bolstering clinics to combat diseases and malnutrition while improving access to healthcare services.
Between January and October 2023, UNICEF reached over 1 million children and over 100,000 women across Syria with primary health care services. This support was provided through supporting 54 mobile clinics and 78 fixed clinics in the country.
Some clinics – especially in rural areas – are lifelines for locals. These clinics offer a range of essential services, including medicine, x-rays, and blood tests.
Nutrition workers screen 2-year-old Yazan for malnutrition at a UNICEF-supported clinic in Badroseya, Syria.
In 2023, UNICEF provided mental health and psychosocial support to approximately 146,300 boys and girls in Syria. Of this, 33,000 caregivers and over 183,300 children were supported with psychological first aid in the aftermath of the deadly earthquakes.
Witnessing the positive impact firsthand, 20-year-old Yousef was inspired to join a team supported by UNICEF.
On the night of the earthquake, Yousef's family home suffered severe damage, forcing them to seek refuge in a temporary shelter set up at his school.
During his time there, Yousef observed the UNICEF-supported teams as they visited the shelter, offering psychosocial assistance to affected children and families, including his 14-year-old brother, Ghadeer. Noticing the remarkable transformation in his brother's behaviour, Yousef was deeply moved by the team's dedication, prompting him to apply for a position within a UNICEF-supported team.
“I loved the way they were helping people in the shelter. They were my source of hope. I want to help the families who lost their houses and lived in shelters, like me. Children and mothers, there, need immense help. They are exposed to different types of risks and challenges.”
Yousef’s now part of the UNICEF family of dedicated workers, and is bound to ignite inspiration in others just as his predecessors have done.
How UNICEF makes this all happen
With over 77 years of experience and operating in 192 countries, we've got the know-how on supporting kids in need around the world.
We'll always deliver life-saving support when kids need it most and we’re always ready to ship our life-saving pre-positioned supplies at a moment’s notice.