Overwhelming needs as earthquakes hit south Türkiye and northwest Syria: MSF scales up its response

Following the powerful earthquakes that hit the south of Türkiye and northwest Syria on February 6th, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), already supporting the population of northwest Syria, has mobilized its team along with local partners to respond to the increasing needs in the area. So far, the United Nations has confirmed more than 9,000 wounded and 2,300 dead according to the first estimates in both countries. 

Unfortunately, one of our staff members was found dead under the rubbles of his house in Idlib, and others lost members of their families. “We are very shocked and saddened by the impact of this disaster on the thousands of people touched by it, including our colleagues and their families”, says Sebastien Gay, MSF Head of Mission in Syria.

“Health facilities are impacted and overwhelmed, and the medical personnel in northern Syria is working around the clock to respond to the huge numbers of wounded arriving to the facilities. From the first hours, our teams treated around 200 wounded and we received 160 casualties in the facilities and the clinics that we run or support in northern Idlib. Our ambulances are also deployed to assist the population”, he adds. 

MSF provided immediate support to 23 health facilities across Idlib and Aleppo governorates, by donating emergency medical kits and supporting them with medical staff to reinforce their teams.  

Moreover, our teams have donated blankets and essential life kits to the displaced populations in northwest Syria. The level of damage in the region has caused the destruction of hundreds of houses, leaving thousands homeless. It has been snowing the past three days and the population remains outside out of fear of further aftershocks that continued throughout the day. 

“The needs are very high in northwest Syria as this quake adds a dramatic layer for the vulnerable populations that are still struggling after many years of war”, adds Gay. “The massive consequences of this disaster will require an international aid effort that is up to the scale”. 

MSF remains in close contact with the local authorities in northwest Syria and with the authorities in Türkiye to extend our support where it’s needed. We are currently assessing the situation and needs in Idlib, northern Aleppo and south Türkiye to scale up our response accordingly, as the number of deaths and injuries is increasing by the hour.  

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