Earthquakes hit Türkiye and Syria
Following the powerful earthquakes that hit the south of Türkiye and northwest Syria on February 6th, Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is responding to the increasing needs -- treating patients, supporting hospitals and ambulances, and providing immediate relief items to people affected. So far, thousands have died and thousands more are wounded in both countries.
Our response in Syria as of February 24, 2023: 30,232 relief items distributed, 5,667 mobile clinics consultations, 450 mental health consultations, 27 tons medical supplies donated, 32 hospitals supported.
All Doctors Without Borders relief activities in Türkiye are carried out in collaboration with local partners. Our response in Turkiye as of February 25, 2023: distributed more than 27,000 hygiene kits, more than 14,000 relief items, more than 20,000 liters of water, more than 9,000 food items, more than 34 tons of wood, and more than 180,000 meals served.
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.Sebastien Gay, Head of Mission in Syria
How is Doctors Without Borders responding in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Syria?
Doctors Without Borders has been present in northwest and northeast Syria for many years, making a swift response possible in the most affected areas, mainly in northwest Syria, while northeast Syria was much less affected.
Our teams are adapting their response in Syria to offer immediate relief and medical support. The pillars of the first few days of the response are supporting medical facilities to treat patients with material and HR support, facilitating transport of patients by supporting ambulances, and providing immediate relief items to people affected. Today, Doctors Without Borders has scaled its efforts deploying mobile clinics, distributing relief items, implementing water and sanitation and logistics activities, and offering psychological first aid.
Key data as of February 24, 2023:
Relief items distributed: 30,232
Mobile clinics consultations: 5,667
Number of mental health consultations: 450
Medical supplies donated: 27 tons
Hospitals supported: 32
- NORTHWEST SYRIA
Supporting healthcare provision In Idlib and Aleppo governorates: Doctors Without Borders supported 32 hospitals and health facilities, through donations of emergency kits, trauma kits medical supplies, and blankets. This includes facilities in Idlib, Azaz, Afrin, Mare’, Bab El Hawa, among other towns. We also sent medical staff, including surgeons, to support hospitals dealing with the influx of wounded.
In 4 health facilities (hospitals and clinics) in Idlib governorate, we treated injured patients, and we increased the capacity of the hospitals we’re working in by adding triage tents in the outside wards. In addition, we deployed our ambulances and we’re supporting 90 ambulances to facilitate the transfer of patients in need of emergency assistance to the closest health facilities.
Two weeks after we have scaled up efforts deploying mobile clinics and distributing relief items to affected populations.
Mobile clinics: We set up mobile clinics that were deployed in three reception centers, and eleven different camps in northwest Syria. The aim is to offer essential medical services to people affected by the earthquakes.
Mental health services: Our teams launched a mental health hotline that is accessible to people, that is being communicated in the community through our health promoters and mental health specialists.
Offering relief support to affected families: In Aleppo governorate, with our local partners, we distributed food and blankets to more than 500 families in the reception centers in Afrin.
Similarly, we distributed more than 800 kits, including hygiene items, kitchen kits, winter kits and blankets, to affected people in Jindires, one of the most affected cities, and families in reception centers in Azaz and Mare’ and surrounding villages.
A total of 19,594 blankets have been distributed in northwest Syria.
Offering immediate relief support to people affected by the earthquakes, particularly those without shelter in this cold weather, will remain a priority for our team. We will continue to assess the needs and adapt our response accordingly.
Donations/aid into northwest Syria: In an effort to continue our support.
On Sunday, February 26th 2023, Doctors Without Borders has brought in a convoy of 15 trucks including 1,234 tents and winter kits to be distributed in the following days.
In addition, 24 tons of medical items have been imported in preparation for scaling up of activities.
- NORTHEAST SYRIA
There has been no major damage or injuries reported at or near our projects in Northeast Syria. However, the team is actively investigating opportunities to provide support to earthquake affected areas elsewhere in Syria.
What is Doctors Without Borders doing in Syria prior to the earthquakes?
In northwest Syria, Doctors Without Borders is supporting 7 hospitals including 1 burn unit, in addition to 12 Primary Health Care centres (PHCs) and 3 ambulances for referrals. In addition, Doctors Without Borders supports 11 mobile clinics serving Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. Doctors Without Borders is also running Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities in close to 100 IDP camps across the northwest.
In northeast Syria, we run a primary healthcare clinic, NCDs programs, mobile wound care, and a reverse osmosis plant to provide safe drinking water in Al-Hol camp. Doctors Without Borders also supports a hospital, as well as an outpatient department (OPD), ER, and nutrition programming, and currently have a team engaged in a short-term influenza B intervention in response to high child mortality.
In addition, since the announcement of the Cholera outbreak, Doctors Without Borders has been responding by conducting community-based health promotion activities as well as training for relevant healthcare workers. We’re also supporting cholera treatment units, and oral rehydration points in the affected areas in Northwest, and Northeast Syria. Today these activities are on standby as no patients or severe cases have presented themselves to our supported facilities. However, we continue to monitor the evolution of the situation and ready to respond if any developments are to occur.
How is Doctors Without Borders responding in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Türkiye?
All Doctors Without Borders relief activities in Türkiye are carried out in collaboration with local partners. Doctors Without Borders is not registered in Türkiye so this is the model we have to use to help people affected.
Key data as of February 25, 2023:
More than 27,000 hygiene kits distributed
More than 14,000 Relief items distributed
More than 20,000 liters of water provided
More than 180,000 meals served
More than 9,000 food items distributed
More than 34 tons of wood distributed
- Donation of essential relief items and medical supplies, WASH and food
Adiyaman: Doctors Without Borders teams donated generators for energy, as well as more than 7,000 hygiene kits and relief items, such as blankets, sleeping bags, power banks, electrical stoves, diapers and winter undergarments i We have also donated more than 20,000 liters of water, a vehicle for transporting medicine and fuel for mobile clinics .
Elbistan: We have donated 250 hygiene kits and 400 thermal undergarments for first responders (healthcare workers and search and rescue teams) , as well as donated food in various villages in the outskirts of Elbistan.
Gaziantep: Doctors Without Borders donated 3,000 hygiene kits to the Turkish Red Crescent.
Islahiye district: Doctors Without Borders teams donated medical and non-medical items to Islahiye hospital and camp for displaced people, as well as hygiene kits to the Turkish Red Crescent.
Hatay: We have donated more than 3,000 relief items, tents and 14,000 hygiene kits, as well as provided food and water for hospitals. Doctors Without Borders teams have also donated more than 8,000 food items including bread and food kits, as well as improved water and sanitation in the town and makeshift camps for displaced people, such as by installing more than 60 showers in camps and three water points in parks.
In addition, Doctors Without Borders supported a partner organisation in conducting mobile clinics focusing on mother and childcare (prenatal care, neonatal care, infant and childcare), as well as made a medical donation of scabies treatment.
Kilis: Doctors Without Borders supported the distribution of 180,000 hot meals to 6,000 people in four camps in Kilis, with IBC and Turkish Red Crescent (who is not a direct partner but coordinating through IBC).
Nurdağı District: Doctors Without Borders assessed WASH needs in rural areas of the Nurdağı district.
Kahramanmaras, Pazarcik and Kayseri: Doctors Without Borders teams donated relief items, such as sleeping bags, winter clothes for babies, personal care items, as well as hygiene kits. Our teams also provided fresh fruits and vegetables to organisations offering meals to displaced people.
Malatya: Doctors Without Borders donated 500 hygiene kits and 150 packs of adult diapers for people in informal camps and villages in hard-to-reach areas.
- Mental health support
Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Pazarcik and Kayseri: Doctors Without Borders has provided mental health and psychosocial support for people affected by the earthquake, including volunteers and search and rescue teams engaged in the response through individual and group work, as well as by donating pedagogical material for psycho-social workshops.
We have a very limited vision in terms of medical needs. We know that the two hospitals are affected by the earthquake. The authorities are doing blood bank collections to take care of the first patients of the day. We're going to know more in the coming days. However, we can confirm that we are going to focus on shelter distribution, non-food items (NFI) distribution, blankets, cloths. And all this support in Türkiye will be done with our partner, the International Blue Crescent, with whom we worked in the last earthquake in Izmir in 2020.Michel Lacharité, Emergency Desk Head
Doctors Without Borders remains in close contact with the local authorities in northwest Syria and with the authorities in Turkey to extend our support where it’s needed.
View of Kahramanmaraş after the earthquakes. Türkiye, February 2023. © International Blue Crescent
View of Idlib province, Northwestern Syria. Syria, February 2023. © Omar Haj Kadour
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