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Children Feared Trapped and Thousands Killed after Two Earthquakes Hit Türkiye and Syria

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 6, 2023)—Rescuers were battling freezing conditions to reach children feared trapped under rubble after two devastating earthquakes hit Syria and Türkiye on Monday, with thousands of others forced from their homes and more 2,000 reported killed, said Save the Children

Save the Children said it was responding quickly after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake reverberated across 10 provinces in the south of Türkiye and devastated large parts of Syria, with media reporting more than 2,000 people killed. As of today, 10:50 AM EST, according to the Directorate for Disaster Management in Türkiye, over 1,500 people were killed and over 8,500 injured, while at least 780 were killed in Syria and over 1,200 injured according to Syria’s Ministry of Health and sources in North West Syria.

The earthquake and significant aftershocks have been felt throughout the region, as far as North East Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon

Over 2,800 buildings have collapsed in Türkiye, including hospitals, schools, and government buildings, with Save the Children racing to assess the immediate needs of children and their families.

Sasha Ekanayake, Save the Children Türkiye Country Director, said:  

"This is one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years and made thousands homeless, while the region is experiencing freezing weather and snowstorms. Schools in the affected areas are now closed for a week.  Our teams are moving quickly to check all our staff are safe, and to respond to the emergency, but it's crucial that the international community acts now to provide support to the thousands of people in need."  

Okke Bouwman, Save the Children Syria Media Director, said:  

“Twelve years of conflict in Syria have left families on the brink. The economy has collapsed, and families were already struggling to feed their children, to keep them warm this winter and to send them to school. Now children may be trapped in rubble, separated from their caregivers or unsure whether they will have a warm place to sleep tonight. Aftershocks are continuing, bringing further terror. These children need our immediate support—the international community must step up to help them now.”  

In North West Syria, Save the Children is working closely with partner organizations to assess the scale of the damage to provide support that children desperately need as the situation becomes clearer.    

In Türkiye, Save the Children is working to assess needs and has established a response team which will be supporting the national emergency response across the region, in close coordination with the government and key stakeholders. Save the Children's teams on the ground are planning to support affected communities with winterization and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing.  


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