International NGO Muslim Hands has raised over £1 million for the victims of the Türkiye and Syria earthquake in four days after launching a global appeal to raise £5 million. The money raised is going towards distributing emergency life-saving aid such as tents, hot meals, water, and winter essentials; blankets and warm clothing. It is also being used to provide container homes in Türkiye, as well as medical camps in both countries.
So far, Muslim Hands has provided nearly 52,000 hot meals, over 1,000 blankets and 2,300 sleeping bags in the locations of Hatay, Kahramanmaras, Sanliurfa and Gaziantep. This was achieved in collaboration with our partners, Hayrat Aid and Ensar Association. In northern Syria, we have distributed close to 200 food parcels and 50,000 loaves of bread daily.
On Monday 6th February two deadly earthquakes of 7.7 and 7.6 magnitudes hit Türkiye and Northwest Syria impacting over 13.5 million people. Over 50,000 people have been killed with the death toll rising daily. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands injured.
The aftermath of the earthquake is now posing new risks, especially to those most vulnerable such as elderly people, women, and children. Hundreds of thousands are homeless in harsh freezing temperatures with shortages in fuel and electricity and limited supplies in food and essential medicines.
Our staff on the ground have seen harrowing scenes of buildings completely obliterated, families camping on the roadside burning what they can find to keep warm, to seeking shelters in mosques and even their cars to protect them from below freezing temperatures. Other survivors rushed to airports in a panic, desperate to get on the first available flights in an attempt to flee.
Muslim Hands has been working in Türkiye and Syria for over a decade supporting internally displaced Syrians impacted by the 12-year civil war. This has been through our bread factory in Idlib which currently provides 50,000 loaves of bread daily feeding 25,000 people. Over 1,000 permanent homes have been donated in Northern Syria by our generous supporters, rehoming 7,000 Syrians. As well as our yearly distributions during winter, Ramadan, and Qurbani, which cover locations between the Türkiye-Syria borders.
Mehmet Ali and his family are currently seeking shelter on the side of the road after the earthquakes had them fleeing their homes. He has four children, the youngest being a six-month-old baby. After receiving blankets from Muslim Hands, he quickly threw it over his son to stay warm through the night.
“There are cracks in our home, and we are afraid the building will collapse. We ran out of our home with nothing and are scared to return in case another earthquake strikes”.
Ayman Agabani, Muslim Hands staff, currently on the ground in Sanliurfa said, ‘we visited a local mosque that was considered a safe place and was housing Syrian refugees that had escaped the earthquakes in the middle of the night with nothing but the clothes on their back. In response Muslim Hands with our partners on the ground are providing families with the essentials such as thick blankets and hot food as they have literally lost everything. We are urgently requesting our supporters to continue to give, because the extreme cold weather is a major problem. The weather is bitter and for those stuck outside with nowhere to go, as many are forced to sleep in their cars. It is a tragic situation.’
Yasrab Shah, Fundraising Director said, ‘at the end of 2022 we visited our projects in Northern Syria, and so we know the areas that have been impacted well such as Hatay and Gaziantep. We are devastated by what has happened to those impacted in Southern Türkiye. Those who supported us in our project work in Northern Syria have now become in need themselves. For those in Northern-Syria who were already in desperate need because of the on-going civil war are now finding themselves in a further crippling situation. We desperately urge our donors to give so Muslim Hands along with our partners on the ground can continue to feed and provide shelter to those affected.’
Senior Press Officer – Sahirah Javaid – email@example.com or 07736344899