One year on from earthquake and the situation in Syria is more critical than ever.

06 Feb 2024 by World Vision
One year on from earthquake and the situation in Syria is more critical than ever.

More than 800,000 people are still living in tents in northwest Syria and millions more struggle to get enough to eat each day, a year on from a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

The earthquake, which hit one year ago on February 6, 2023, killed more than 50,000 people in southern Türkiye and northwest Syria.

It destroyed thousands of homes and inflicted extensive damage on infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, exacerbating the already desperate situation for the more than four million people in northwest Syria who are entirely dependent on humanitarian aid.

World Vision NZ Country Programme Manager, Andy Robinson, says around 90% of Syrians now live below the poverty line and nearly one-fifth of the population struggle to get enough to eat every day.

“The people of Syria were already in the grip of a dire humanitarian crisis following years of civil war and the earthquake just added misery and suffering for so many more millions of people.

“But at this one-year mark, while there is still much more that needs to be done, we are making a difference. In the past year, World Vision has been able to support nearly two million people.

“New Zealand funding specifically has enabled us to create child-friendly spaces in Türkiye to help children deal with their grief and trauma, and it’s allowed us to wrap protection services around those vulnerable children.

“In Syria, we’ve been able to run a much-needed programme to combat a massive outbreak of cholera and ensure that people get the healthcare they need to literally save lives,” he says.

However, Emmanuel Isch, World Vision's Syria Response's Director says more funding is needed to support the people of Syria as the level of need escalates out of control.

"The region and the world seem to be more divided than ever; the number of conflicts seems to be growing, and climate change is causing more and more natural disasters. World Vision wants to remind the world, on this sad milestone, that the people of Northwest Syria are still reeling from the ongoing impacts of both.

“The scale of support needed for families and communities in Northwest Syria is escalating out of control, due to 13 years of conflict and a year of unmet needs from the devastating earthquake. The situation is now more critical than ever, and the world cannot afford to ignore the suffering here, despite the growing number of geopolitical distractions,” he says.

Isch says more than 800,000 people are still living in tents and nearly six million people, mainly women and children, are not receiving essential nutritional assistance.

He says it’s essential that the United Nations Syrian Humanitarian Response Plan is properly funded to ensure support can be delivered to those who need it.

Isch says it’s also vital for unconditional and unrestricted humanitarian access routes through the country to ensure the survival of the population of Northwest Syria.

“We’re focused on the long-term resilience of these communities for a more hopeful and stable future, but we need support from the international community and others in order to help create this reality,” he says.

To support World Vision in its work to help those affected by the earthquake in southern Türkiye and northwest Syria, donate here.