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New Earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria Retriggering Trauma in Children, says Save the Children

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (Feb. 21, 2023)—Another series of earthquakes in southern Türkiye and Syria has retriggered acute trauma in children with reports of people so scared they were jumping off balconies to escape buildings.

Alexandra Saieh, Save the Children's Head of Humanitarian Policy and Advocacy, currently in Gaziantep, said: "Just two weeks after one of the worst earthquakes in Türkiye's history, another deadly quake hit Hatay, once again collapsing buildings and claiming lives. Many families who had set up tents next to their damaged homes rushed to the streets again. Some of our staff in Hatay could not get out of the building quick enough and had to shelter under a table. For them, just like for millions of children and their families, this new quake has retriggered trauma experienced in recent weeks. We are concerned about the impact on children who were just barely starting to gain a new sense of confidence.

"There are newly collapsed buildings reported in the center of Antakya, and we are now in the process of assessing the area for damage before we resume all our activities. We are visiting communities in the Hatay province to deliver mattresses, blankets, and firewood to families."

Kathryn Achilles, Advocacy, Media, and Communications Director for Save the Children Syria, said: "In Syria, these latest earthquakes have done nothing to reassure children that they are safe. We were already hearing reports of acute trauma in children—this is likely to only get worse after last night. We heard reports of people who were so afraid that they were jumping off balconies to escape buildings. Local aid providers are continuing to provide vital support but have also been affected—many of them told us they were out in the streets all night or slept in their cars, with their own fears for their families' safety."

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