Following the powerful earthquakes that hit the south of Türkiye and northwest Syria on 6 February, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has mobilised teams along with local partners to respond to the increasing needs in the area.
Sadly, one of our staff members was found dead under the rubble of his home in Idlib, northwest Syria, while other members of our team have lost family members.
“We are very shocked and saddened by the impact of this disaster on the thousands of people affected by it, including our colleagues and their families,” says Sebastien Gay, MSF head of mission in Syria.
Health facilities are impacted and overwhelmed. Medical personnel in northern Syria are working around the clock to respond to the huge numbers of wounded arriving to facilities.Sebastien Gay, MSF head of mission in Syria
“Health facilities are impacted and overwhelmed. Medical personnel in northern Syria are working around the clock to respond to the huge numbers of wounded arriving at facilities,” says Gay.
“From the first hours [of the disaster], our teams have treated around 200 wounded people. We have received 160 casualties in facilities and clinics that we run or support in northern Idlib. Our ambulances have also been sent to assist people,” he says.
Our teams have provided immediate support to 23 health facilities across Idlib and Aleppo governorates in Syria, by donating emergency medical kits and supporting them with medical staff to reinforce their teams.
We have also donated blankets and essential items to displaced people in northwest Syria. The level of damage in the region has caused the destruction of hundreds of houses, leaving thousands of people homeless. To make matters worse, there has been snowfall over the past three days, while people remain outside due to fear of further aftershocks that have continued throughout the day.
“The needs are very high in northwest Syria as this quake adds a dramatic layer for the vulnerable people here who are still struggling after many years of war,” says 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 and northern Aleppo in Syria and in southern Türkiye to scale up our response accordingly, as the number of deaths and injuries increase by the hour.