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The devastating earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria has left a huge death toll and injured thousands. Save the Children is helping people keep warm in the freezing temperatures by providing winter kits in addition to food and packs for babies.

Second Humanitarian Disaster Looms as Children without Shelter and Water Following Earthquakes

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 9, 2023)—As the death toll passes 19,000 in Türkiye and Syria, hopes of finding more survivors are fading and a second humanitarian disaster is looming with countless survivors in freezing conditions without basics such as shelter, food, water and sanitation, said Save the Children.

Berna Köroğlu, Emergency Response Team Coordinator for Save the Children Türkiye, has been in the badly hit Hatay province for three days. She said: “Today I visited a Community Center, which is being used as a temporary shelter for people who have lost their homes. I saw a boy who had a head injury. He was accompanied by his mother and sister, who had also been rescued from under the rubble. Whilst I was there the family were told that the child's father couldn't be saved, his body had been recovered from the rubble. 

“People like this family, who have already been through so much pain and suffering, now face a second humanitarian disaster, as many are left without shelter, food, and water.

“Today, I visited Antakya in Hatay province. The whole town has been annihilated by the earthquakes and the people we’re meeting are telling us that they have nothing left in the city and they just want to leave. Their living conditions are bleak. They’re sleeping in cars or makeshift shelters, there are no toilets or running water. Without toilets people have no choice other than to relieve themselves outside, which could lead to waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, which are particularly deadly to children. 

“The affected regions urgently need humanitarian assistance. The international community must do all it can to support local humanitarian efforts in order to prevent a second humanitarian disaster from unfolding.”

As of February 9, Save the Children Türkiye’s emergency response team is preparing to help children and families living in temporary facilities across various locations. On February 9, the organization provided much-needed hot meals for 500 people sheltering in a sports stadium in Hatay. 

Save the Children will also help people keep warm in the freezing temperatures by providing winter kits. In Hatay, we will distribute blankets, mattresses and sleeping bags. A tent area has been identified with enough space for tents for people who have lost their homes.

In Malatya and Antep, the organization has delivered packs for babies, which include baby food, milk and bottles, packs of baby food.

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