More than 33,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6. This devastating earthquake was followed by dozens of violent aftershocks and happened in proximity to densely populated areas. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that there are over 5 million people who may need shelter support in Syria after the quake.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by this disaster. Syrians have been disproportionately affected as Syria is still bearing the scars of 12 years of a brutal war that continues to this day.
Beset by conflict, food shortages and an economic collapse, Syria’s national infrastructure had already been severely decimated. That was before the worst earthquake to hit the region in decades struck. To make matters worse, the imposed sanctions on the country have rendered it almost impossible to send money to Syrians to help them rebuild what was destroyed.
The city of Aleppo, Syria’s prewar commercial hub, which bore the brunt of the war is one of the most affected cities by the earthquake. Buildings there often collapse due to the dilapidated infrastructure, which has suffered from a lack of oversight during the war. Indeed, many have been living in damaged buildings for years due to a lack of systematic reconstruction of residential areas.
The province of Idlib, in the country’s north-west, is among the areas worst hit by the earthquake. After more than a decade of fighting, millions of refugees that have settled in this region have once again become homeless.
A deepening economic crisis which has led to fuel shortages, increased power cuts and growing deprivation, combined with damaged infrastructure, damaged roads previously used for humanitarian work and a harsh winter, complicate relief efforts and make the situation on the ground more dire than ever. Add to that the recent estimate by the UN that 90% of the 18 million people in Syria are living in poverty. A statement by the World Food Programme warned that 70 percent of the population might soon be “unable to put food on the table for their families,”.
Yet despite this crisis, international support remains underfunded. Reports from the UN state that it received less than half of the $4.4bn it required from donors to meet growing needs in 2022, rendering the prospects for a recovery from the Syrian crisis dim.
The people of Syria need your help. Now is the time to act. Please donate to the organization of your choice and let’s help those in dire need.
Some of the charities we recommend:
La fondation d’alep (Montreal)
Red cross / Red crescent (Canada)
Togetherness USA (United States)
Le centre culturel syrien (Montreal)
Please contact us for more information.