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Syria and Türkiye earthquakes six months on: Heatwave exacerbates humanitarian crisis

07 Aug 2023 by World Vision
Syria and Türkiye earthquakes six months on: Heatwave exacerbates humanitarian crisis

  • Extreme heat caused by soaring temperatures leads to deadly, destructive fires.
  • More than 17 million people have been directly affected by the earthquakes since February.
  • 2.5 million people in Syria are at imminent risk of severe hunger.
  • Nine in ten Syrian families are living in poverty.
  • Food insecurity has risen over 50 percent in just six years, affecting an estimated 12.1 million people.
  • 265,000 people remain in need of proper housing.
Six months on from the devastating earthquakes which killed more than 50,000 people in Syria and Türkiye, extreme heat is now putting more pressure on many of the 10 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.

Fires caused by extreme heat have ripped through refugee camps set up to support those who lost everything in the earthquakes and World Vision warns that the humanitarian situation in Northwest Syria is worse than ever before.

World Vision New Zealand Country Programme Manager for Türkiye, Andy Robinson, says Syrians, in particular, are struggling with the recovery, and experiencing ongoing distress caused by enduring conflict, economic downturn, a cholera outbreak, and harsh weather conditions.

“The heatwave is causing havoc for communities which have already lost so much. Across three days in July the soaring temperatures triggered more than 40 fires across Northwest Syria and we’re really concerned for the increasing number of families still living in temporary shelters,” says Robinson.

This follows floods and more than 140 fires since the start of the year, with the total number of fires causing five deaths and damaging hundreds of tents. Some temporary shelters are home to 16 or more people.

At the time the earthquakes struck, World Vision feared it could take a generation for survivors to recover, and maybe longer in Northern Syria where so many were reliant on humanitarian aid.

“The situation in Northwest Syria is growing increasingly complex and the war in Ukraine is leading to issues with emergency food supplies and distribution. In Syria alone, there are approximately 2.5 million individual people are at imminent risk of severe hunger. It is heartbreaking to see,” Robinson says.

Malnutrition rates are at an all-time high, with one in four pregnant and nursing mothers acutely malnourished, and one in four children stunted in some areas of Syria.

World Vision’s Syria Response Director, Johan Mooij is urging those in New Zealand to show some compassion for those in Syria and Türkiye.

"In this world of plenty, no child should go hungry. We're working to provide lifesaving assistance to those in urgent need, address the root causes of hunger, and collaborate on a global scale to help develop more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable food systems to increase supplies of nutritious and healthy food, enhance health and education, and protect vulnerable children and families.”

World Vision has supported more than 800,000 people in Syria and Türkiye so far, but there is still much more to do.

To support the work World Vision New Zealand is doing in Syria and Türkiye visit:

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