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A harsh new normal in Turkey and Syria

People across Turkey and Syria are forced to face a new normal following the deadly earthquakes that struck the region on February 6. This new normal includes city streets lined with destroyed buildings, the grief of loved ones who died or are still missing under the rubble, loss of homes and possessions, and flashbacks of fear.

CAM supporters are making it possible to bring aid to people in Turkey and Syria facing these painful realities. Here are some of the things your support is providing.

Food

Basic food items like flour, sugar, oil, rice, and powdered milk are being given to people who have lost almost everything. One night in Syria, while our contacts distributed food to families sheltering at a park, their supply ran short. One man, Ali,* was left without aid. The team leader promised to come back later with more food for Ali. Two hours later, he returned with the food. Ali began weeping when he saw the aid and said, “You’re the first person who promised to help me, and you kept your word.”

A gift of food is reason for this Syrian child to smile!
A gift of food is reason for this Syrian child to smile!

Blankets and clothing

In the days shortly after the earthquakes hit, temperatures in Turkey and Syria plummeted. Many people had little more than the clothes on their backs, leaving them with little to ward off the cold. To help meet this need, our contacts distributed blankets and warm clothing.

Women in Turkey receive blankets.
Women in Turkey receive blankets.

Tents

In some places, “tent cities” sprang up soon after the earthquakes as people tried to find shelter after suddenly becoming homeless. We supported contacts in purchasing and setting up tents.

Other items

In addition to the items listed above, CAM has helped to provide hygiene items like soap, shampoo, towels, and diapers, heating supplies like stoves and coal, medicines, literature, and other aid.

Stories from the earthquake

Our contacts in Turkey and Syria hear story after story of pain. A Syrian father shared his experience during the earthquake. “It was as if someone was shaking me to wake up! . . . With a jolt, I grabbed my children and our IDs, and we headed out immediately. . . . As we ran, buildings collapsed around us. It was horrifying—people screaming, running, weeping. Thousands were injured, and thousands under the rubble. We have never witnessed something like that, not even during the war. An hour later, an aftershock destroyed our house. We lost everything!” He continued, “My son . . . keeps asking if another earthquake will happen.”

A middle-aged woman in Turkey sat with our contacts, a troubled expression on her face. In a trembling voice, she tearfully told them about the death of her sister. “We heard my sister calling for help for four days, but they said they couldn’t rescue her because of the tall apartment building that was leaning over onto theirs which made it very dangerous to get to her.” She repeated again and again, “If only we would have tried to rescue her!”

Please continue praying for the people of Turkey and Syria and for our contacts as they seek to meet needs and offer Jesus’ hope. Thank you for your care and support!

*Name is changed to protect identity.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Trauma and grief after Turkey and Syria’s earthquakes

Monday, March 6, was the one-month mark since deadly earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria. Days and weeks have passed, but trauma and grief remain.

CAM staff members spent several weeks on the ground in Turkey, researching needs and ways to help. Supporters’ funds are enabling us to support trusted contacts who are providing basic food items, tents, blankets, heaters, and other supplies for earthquake victims.

After visiting an earthquake-affected city, a CAM staff member said, “The sheer scope and size of the devastation is incomprehensible! Your mind can’t believe what your eyes are seeing! Every building is either reduced to a pile of rubble, pancaked down, barely standing, or has major structural damage!”

“I’m not new to devastating scenes,” he continued, “but this was 100 times worse than anything I’ve ever seen. You just have to block out the face that every building was the home of numerous families, and in the ones that came crashing down, many were killed . . .”

Ways to pray:

  • Pray for families who have lost family members, friends, and neighbors. The death toll now passes 50,000.

  • Pray for peace for the thousands facing terror and fear.

  • Pray for wisdom for staff and contacts as they seek to help. The needs and requests for help are many.

  • Pray that God would touch hearts through this tragedy.

Trauma

Aftershocks have continued to shake the region. On Tuesday, a 5.6 magnitude aftershock shook parts of Turkey, causing more buildings to collapse. Fears are still fresh from the deadly earthquakes of February 6, and these shocks bring terror. Many people are terrified of entering their homes and spend nights in their cars or in parks instead. “Fear and trauma is a real thing to these people,” observed a staff member.

Grief

One woman in Turkey told the story of her aunt’s family who died in the earthquake. The family spent days buried beneath the rubble of their collapsed, multi-story building. The desperate father managed to crawl through tiny holes and avenues, pulling his way toward the top of the wreckage. But he never made it out alive. His body was finally recovered, and it was suspected that he had only passed away two or three days before. A woman who was rescued from the same building several days before said that while she was under the wreckage, she heard several girls’ voices before they, too, passed away.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Photos from the deadly Turkey and Syria earthquakes

Millions of people in Syria and Turkey face the long-term effects of last week’s earthquakes. Incredibly, some people have been found alive after spending more than 200 hours under the rubble. Others meanwhile mourn their losses as they bury loved ones and wait for their bodies to be recovered. Turkish and Syrian authorities say the death toll is reaching 44,000.   

We are working through contacts to provide food, blankets, coal, and other aid. Staff members on the ground continue monitoring the situation and connecting with contacts.

Following are some photos from the deadly Turkey and Syria earthquakes, to give a glimpse of the ruin and devastation that has affected so many lives.

A destroyed home in Turkey.
A destroyed home in Turkey.
The earthquakes caused buildings like this one to “pancake,” one floor onto the other, crushing everything below them.
The earthquakes caused buildings like this one to “pancake,” one floor onto the other, crushing everything below them.
People in Turkey search through the rubble of their village.
People in Turkey search through the rubble of their village.

The earthquakes shifted buildings from their foundations, leaving them to rest at odd angles.
The earthquakes shifted buildings from their foundations, leaving them to rest at odd angles.
People dig through piles of rubble, searching for survivors and victims.
People dig through piles of rubble, searching for survivors and victims.
This graveyard is marked with the fresh graves of earthquake victims.
This graveyard is marked with the fresh graves of earthquake victims.
A woman cooks outside the tent where she lives since the earthquakes.
A woman cooks outside the tent where she lives since the earthquakes.
Children are among those most deeply affected by the earthquake. Many deal with fear and trauma. Hundreds are orphaned.
Children are among those most deeply affected by the earthquake. Many deal with fear and trauma. Hundreds are orphaned.

Syrian families displaced by the earthquake shelter with other families.
Syrian families displaced by the earthquake shelter with other families.
A food recipient in Syria.
A food recipient in Syria.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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A week after Turkey and Syria’s earthquakes

A destroyed house in Turkey

Yesterday marked one week since deadly earthquakes hit southern Turkey and northwestern Syria. It has been a week of heartache, death, and ruin. The weeks ahead look long and uncertain.

 Heartache and ruin

This tragedy is the region’s deadliest disaster in a century. At this time, the confirmed death toll has reached over 37,000. But with many people still missing, the actual number is expected to be much higher. In some areas, mass graves are being dug as cemeteries are filled. One church leader in Turkey lost more than 20 members of his family.

For many people, nearly all they have is buried under layers of rubble. Tens of thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria collapsed during the earthquakes, leaving people with few places to shelter from the bitter cold.

A destroyed house in Turkey
A destroyed house in Turkey

Tragedy upon tragedy

Some of the most vulnerable people in this earthquake situation are Syrians who have faced more than a decade of civil war. They know tragedy all too well. Warring factions, limited access to aid, widespread displacement, and a shattered economy were already realities in their country. Now this disaster deals them yet another blow. Many feel forgotten.

In neighboring countries like Lebanon, many refugees who fled from Syria’s conflict are desperate to know how their loved ones are doing. “They are mourning silently,” says a contact.

The future

It will no doubt take months, and maybe years, for people to recover from these deadly earthquakes. The tasks of cleanup and rebuilding look daunting. Many people are plagued with fear and anxiety. They struggle to know how to move forward with the loss of family members, friends, homes, and jobs.

Help for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

Contacts on the ground in earthquake-affected areas continue researching needs and ways to help. They are distributing aid like food, water, blankets, coal, and heaters.

In one Syrian city, our contacts shared some of the dire needs they found: “Many people starving and lacking everything, as their neighborhood had been sealed off.” They were able to help some especially needy families with food, water, and other basic supplies.

If you would like to help people suffering in the aftermath of these earthquakes, your support will be a blessing!

Food bags for earthquake victims in Syria
Food bags for earthquake victims in Syria

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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February 11 UPDATE Turkey and Syria earthquakes

Following the deadly earthquakes on Monday, cities across Turkey and Syria are scenes of ruin. Where multi-story apartment buildings once stood lie heaps of broken concrete and twisted rebar. Rescuers spend frantic hours searching the wreckage for signs of life. Family members, neighbors, and friends watch nearby, waiting and hoping. Days with no word about their loved ones and little refuge from the cold leave them with dwindling hope.

There are a few moments of joy as workers rescue people who are still alive after spending days under the wreckage. But those moments are becoming more and more rare. Today the death toll from the earthquakes passes 25,000. Cemeteries in Turkey and Syria are quickly filling as mourning families bury their loved ones.

[box] One area that sustained damage from the earthquakes is Antioch, Turkey, a location where Paul and Barnabas preached. See Acts 11:26 Contacts in the region are distributing food, blankets, hygiene items, and other aid to earthquake victims. They say that some of the greatest needs are food, water, blankets, and heating supplies like coal. “Electricity and gas are still cut off, so people need coal to [provide warmth] and cook,” said one contact. CAM staff members in the region are meeting with various contacts to continue monitoring needs and ways to provide aid.

One area that sustained damage from the earthquakes is Antioch, Turkey, a location where Paul and Barnabas preached.[/box] The challenges and questions in the wake of the Turkey and Syria earthquakes are many. Who and how do we help? Damaged infrastructure and roads leave some earthquake-affected areas difficult to access. Please continue to lift this crisis in prayer. Pray for the multitudes facing crushing sorrow and loss, as well as contacts and staff members seeking to respond. God bless you!

If you would like to help earthquake victims, please click below.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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February 9 UPDATE Turkey and Syria earthquakes

earthquake, Christian Aid Ministries

People in Turkey and Syria are experiencing their fourth night since the deadly earthquakes of Monday. Desperate family members wait, clinging to the hope that their relatives will be rescued alive from beneath the tons of rubble. But this hope is dwindling fast. As of this afternoon, the death toll reached more than 20,000.

Night’s misery for earthquake victims

Night is miserable for thousands in Turkey and Syria. Many spend the night outdoors. “There is a lack of shelters, many are sleeping outside (it is freezing cold) in cars and in tents, but only a few are available,” a contact said.

In addition to the cold, fear is a harsh reality. “People are very scared, desperate, afraid to return to their homes if they are standing,” says a contact. Aftershocks that shook the region for days after the earthquake triggered memories of shaking ground and collapsing buildings. “Many people stayed in the public parks without even socks while the weather was rainy,” shared a contact in Syria.

We are working through contacts to distribute various items for earthquake victims. Some are passing out blankets to displaced people trying to shelter in public parks. Others are distributing food, hygiene items, and heating materials. Several CAM staff members are on the ground, connecting with contacts and researching needs and ways to help. The needs in the aftermath of the Turkey and Syria earthquakes are nearly overwhelming, and we need God’s wisdom to know who and how to help.

If you would like to help earthquake victims, please click below.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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February 8 UPDATE on Turkey and Syria earthquakes

earthquakes, Christian Aid Ministries

On the third day since two powerful earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria, needs, death, and suffering continue. Below are some excerpts from a report sent by a contact in Turkey early this morning.

earthquakes, Christian Aid Ministries
Earthquake damage

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,  I want to share some new updates with you. The number of dead has reached more than 7,000 people* and more than 40,000 are injured. Sadly, it will increase. More than 10,000 buildings have collapsed. It is very cold in the region. There are still people waiting to be rescued. Sadly, many people have frozen to death while waiting in the buildings. The earthquake has not only affected city centers and their suburbs, but also far away villages. Because the roads are destroyed and the airport is damaged, it is very hard to reach out to some villages and the people living there. The roads are being repaired slowly. . . . A state of emergency has been declared in ten cities. Thirteen million people are living outside. The electricity and gas are cut off to prevent fire and explosions.  [A pastor] went to his hometown . . . Since he is there, it is very difficult to communicate with him as there is no electricity. He has lost some of his relatives. [He] saw many people dead next to the buildings. Other relatives are staying outside as they are afraid to enter the buildings. There is a shortage of gas. They stay in cars. The weather is very cold, so there is the danger for children to have lung fever. All shops in the area are plundered. Nearly all buildings in the area are destroyed. People sleep on the fields with blankets. [The pastor] is buying coal and distributing it to people so they can warm themselves. . . . In [another town] there is a . . . brother who told us that there is an urgent need for water and food. . . .  The number of people who died is very high . . .  Please continue to pray for our country . . .


We are in communication with contacts in the region to find ways we can help. At this point, we are providing funds for food, heating materials, blankets, and other aid for victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. If you would like to support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria project, please click below. *This number refers to confirmed deaths in Turkey. In Turkey and Syria combined, the death toll is higher than 11,700 as of February 8.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Turkey and Syria earthquakes UPDATE

Turkey and Syria, Christian Aid Ministries

The death toll from the earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria yesterday continues to rise. Officials say the number is now higher than 7,200. Thousands of people have been rescued from beneath layers of rubble, but many more are still trapped. “Our country is in great shock,” says a contact in Turkey.


Contacts request our prayers. “Please pray for our country and for the ones who lost their dear ones,” says a contact in Turkey.


Unusually cold weather is hitting the region. Temperatures are below freezing at night. With homes and possessions reduced to rubble, many people are struggling to stay warm. They find shelter in vehicles, public parks, or wherever else they can. In Syria, contacts say churches are filling with people who have nowhere else to go. “Many people are taking shelter in the church,” said a church leader. “It is very cold and their . . . houses are completely destroyed.”

Heartache

Images of heartache are emerging from the earthquake: Fathers weeping as they cradle their children’s bodies; dazed survivors being pulled from layers of concrete and twisted metal; stunned citizens sitting in their neighborhoods, surrounded by devastation. Hospitals and supplies are nearly overwhelmed with the almost constant arrival of injured people pulled from the wreckage.

Help for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria

We continue researching needs and ways to help through well-established contacts. Currently, we are working to provide funds for aid like food, heating materials, and blankets for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria. If you wish to help, your support will be a huge blessing!

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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Earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria

Earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria

Early in the morning on February 6, two earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria. The first earthquake’s 7.8 magnitude force collapsed buildings and shook houses in countries across the Middle East. Hours later, a second earthquake measuring 7.5 magnitude hit the same region.

At this time, more than 2,300 people have been confirmed dead, but the number is expected to rise. Workers are spending hours trying to reach people trapped under collapsed buildings. Snowfall and bitterly cold weather make these efforts even harder.

“It was bad!” reported a woman in Turkey. “We all went out . . . [with] no shoes, no coats, in the snow and pouring rain!” She continued, “The poor people trying to pull [others] out of the rubble are out in the pouring rain!”

The earthquake hit a region where thousands of Syrian refugees sought safety after they fled their homes during Syria’s civil war. Many refugees were sheltering in war-damaged houses or makeshift tents. Now they are left homeless again.

We are working with trusted contacts in the region to research needs and ways to help. One contact is reporting that some of the greatest needs are fuel, medicines, and food. Please pray for the people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Pray also for wisdom for contacts and staff members as they seek ways to help.

At a glance

  • Two 7+ magnitude earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria.
  • More than 2,300 people are confirmed dead.
  • Cold weather adds to earthquake victims’ misery.

To help support the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria program, please click the button below to give a gift.


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