Earthquakes: SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL takes action in Syria

Published on Tuesday 14 March 2023

Since the beginning of February, several violent earthquakes have struck southern Turkey and northern Syria. Find, day after day, the news of our emergency intervention in Syria.

14 March 2023

Interview: Syria earthquakes, preparing for tomorrow

More than a month after the disaster, it is time to evaluate the current situation. While emergency actions are still underway, our teams are already preparing for longer term operations. Thomas Janny, geographical manager for the Middle East region for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL, talks about the aid provided so far, the risks of an epidemic and the challenges ahead.   

> Read the interview

3 March 2023

Due to the earthquakes that shook Syria and Turkey almost a month ago, many health establishments have collapsed. The population has to face a considerable lack of access to water and therefore a deterioration of the general sanitary conditions. Faced with this situation, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams in Syria have organised the distribution of kits containing basic hygiene products. Here is a report on a distribution within a camp for disaster victims, where more than 100 families were able to benefit from the kits. 

  • 22.1 million inhabitants
  • 150th out of 191 countries on the Human Development Index
  • 872.261 people helped

Step 1: SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams set up the distribution site. They put the kits together and store them in an organised manner. 

Step 2: SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL members then ensure that all kits are complete before distribution begins. 

Step 3: While some teams prepare the kits, others register the beneficiaries. 

Step 4: Accompanied by the SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams, the beneficiaries learn about the contents of the kits. These kits are mainly composed of shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, washing powder, sanitary pads, basins etc… 

Step 5: Once the kits have been collected, the families return to their tents. Living conditions are difficult for the affected populations. Humanitarian aid must continue to be provided in order to help these families meet their basic needs: food, water and shelter. 

© Mohamed Yahya

27 FEBRUARY 2023

For several days now, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has been providing hygiene promotion sessions for people affected by the earthquake in Syria. The teams make use of playful activities and informational posters to raise awareness.  

On a daily basis, and even more so in an emergency context, it is necessary to help the population identify the correct hygiene practices to implement. Learning to wash hands properly, for example, is one of the first hygiene rules to be taught from a young age in order to avoid the spread of various common diseases and infections. 

22 FEBRUARY 2023

The earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have caused heavy material and human damages. The resulting lack of water and precarious sanitary conditions pose significant risks to the health and survival of those affected. In order to avoid such situations, necessary operations such as waste collection and management must be put in place.   

Poor waste management could lead to the blockage of water drainage channels, an increase in health problems for the population, and the spread of disease. This situation is all the more worrying, given the resurgence of cholera in the region.   

Faced with these new challenges, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s teams in Syria have begun collecting waste in order for it to be treated. 

21 FEBRUARY 2023

Two weeks after the earthquakes that killed nearly 45,000 people in Turkey and Syria, two new earthquakes of magnitude 6.4 and 5.8 were recorded on Monday evening. The quakes occurred in the Hatay province of Turkey, which has already been hit by previous earthquakes. Initial reports put the death toll at 6 and the number of injured at 300.  

These new tremors come at a time when the situation is already dire in the region. Many survivors have lost relatives, as well as their homes, while others are gravely injured. Given the urgency of the situation, humanitarian aid must continue to cover the vital needs of the affected populations as quickly as possible.   

SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s teams in Syria are continuing to distribute basic products, ready-to-eat food rations and water by tanker, while also carrying out sanitation and hygiene promotion activities.   

So far, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL has distributed more than 600 basic necessities kits, 412 ready-to-eat food rations, and 606 hygiene kits.   

After carrying out several assessments, our teams are currently organizing operations in order to provide more aid to the population in the coming weeks. Initial findings confirm that the most urgent needs include the provision of tents, shelter kits, basic warm clothing to face the winter, and heating fuel.  

Rolland Gueneau, Country Director in charge of Syria, looks back at the living conditions of the affected population and the aid provided, a fortnight after the earthquake that devastated Turkey and Syria. Interview.

15 days after the earthquake, what are the living conditions of the populations?  

15 days after the earthquake, the needs are enormous and the inhabitants lack everything. The majority of them do not have any source of heating or electricity. The networks are regularly cut, making communication difficult. Access to water is limited: water storage tanks have collapsed and water stations have been affected. It should also be noted that these earthquakes occur in the middle of winter, following a snowstorm that had already paralyzed the country, not to mention the war, as well the galloping inflation exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine and the recent cholera outbreak. The population finds itself having to cope with sub-zero temperatures, and for some without a roof over their heads. The lucky ones are sleeping with relatives or in makeshift shelters, while others in their cars or in parks. Some have been accommodated in public buildings that were opened following the earthquake; such as schools, tents, mosques, community centers, camps, and sports centers. Other families were able to stay with acquaintances. The local authorities estimate that nearly 11,000 families are now without housing. Today, the needs of the affected populations are considerable. The mutual aid is extraordinary on site, but the international aid must quickly increase considering the limited local capacities that are running out of steam.  

After the earthquakes that shook the region, the inhabitants lack everything. According to initial information, various emergency kits have been distributed to the population. What were and what are the needs prioritized by SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL? What has SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL been doing since the beginning?  

The needs to be prioritized primarily are the basic needs. According to a first assessment that we have conducted, some basic items are drastically lacking: mattresses, blankets, clothes, tents and ready-to-eat food (the inhabitants lack cooking equipment). Since the earthquakes, 1,411 families have benefited from the distribution of hygiene kits and basic necessities including soap, toothbrushes, mattresses and basic necessities, as well as ready-to-eat food kits. These include bread, sugar, canned tuna, and dates. We hope to help several thousand more families in the coming days. Our teams have also started distributing water by tanker to the affected populations. We will also start sanitation and hygiene promotion operations.  

How will the next few weeks unfold? What are the next steps in the assistance?  

At the moment, we are still in the first phase of the post-earthquake emergency. It is necessary to provide aid to meet the basic needs of the population -food, water and shelter- through the distribution of basic necessities. However, we must also anticipate future needs, as well as the recovery to a certain normality. The affected population will have to be relocated and the minimum public services reactivated. We must therefore, in parallel with the setting up of secure temporary shelters, prepare now to support the rehabilitation of habitats and the reconstruction of, among others, hospitals, bakeries, schools, water networks and stations…  

16 FEBRUARY 2023

In order to support the populations affected by the earthquakes, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams have distributed meal kits containing already prepared foods. They include basic foods such as bread, olive oil, zaatar, beans, chicken, hummus, vegetables, canned tuna, sugar, dates and cakes. These kits should cover the nutritional needs of each family for 5 to 7 days. 

Many infrastructures were also affected by the earthquake, including water access points. SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams have begun distributing water by tanker to fill the water reservoirs of the affected families. Sanitation and hygiene promotion operations are also planned in the area. 

15 FEBRUARY 2023

Presse release: 35 NGOs call for massive increase in humanitarian response

NGOs working in Syria have called for an urgent scaleup in support and for immediate action to be taken to secure humanitarian assistance to the populations affected by the earthquake in Syria. The humanitarian response must match the scale of the disaster. 


14 FEBRUARY 2023

The death toll continues to rise more than a week after the earthquakes that shook Turkey and Syria. Nearly 35,000 people have lost their lives- a toll that could potentially “double”, according to the United Nations. 

Tens of thousands of individuals are now homeless, sleeping in their cars when they can. Their homes are nothing but rubble and debris. While tents have been made available to the affected populations, humanitarian aid must continue to be provided. Beyond the need for shelter, the population has to face many other challenges: difficult access to food, water, and hygiene products, as well as a cholera epidemic still ongoing in the country. 


The death toll continues to rise three days after the earthquakes hit Syria and Turkey, exceeding 17,500.  

Since the beginning of the morning, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL teams have been distributing kits made up of mattresses, blankets, tarps, lamps and hygiene products to the affected populations. 


Less than 72 hours after the disaster, SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL began distributing 300 kits, including blankets, tarpaulins, lamps and hygiene products. On site, the situation remains extremely worrying. 

At the end of the day of Wednesday February 8, 11,700 deaths have been reported in Turkey and Syria. The damage caused by the earthquakes, coupled with the harsh winter conditions, serves as a reminder of the urgent need to act quickly to meet the essential needs of the affected populations in terms of food supply, drinking water and shelter. 

To date, more than 9,500 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured. More than 5,000 buildings have been destroyed. This earthquake comes on top of the many scourges that have already affected very vulnerable populations, particularly in north-western Syria.
In video, Thomas Janny, geographic manager for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.


Presse release: Alliance Urgences calls for solidarity

Alliance Urgences, whose member NGOs Action Contre la Faim, CARE, Handicap International, Médecins du Monde and SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL are present in the field, is launching an emergency call to help the population.



Earthquake in Turkey and Syria: SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL takes action

A very heavy human toll

“For the moment, the information we have is patchy but what is certain is that the impact is considerable. The number of victims continues to rise and hundreds of houses, buildings and infrastructures have been destroyed,” reports Thomas Janny, geographic manager for SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL.   

This toll is provisional and is likely to get much worse, considering the very difficult access to the victims and the rubble.

Extreme winter conditions

In northern Syria, this disaster has hit a region already suffering from snowstorms. Heavy damage has been reported, particularly in areas hosting internally displaced people from Syria. Sub-zero temperatures are feared as more storms are expected in the coming days.   

“The local population must now survive this earthquake and to the current freezing cold. This earthquake severely increases the vulnerability of populations who are already affected by multiple crises”, worries Thomas Janny.


Our NGO, which is already present in the area, is currently assessing needs and is getting ready to provide support as soon as possible through the distribution of shelter and winterisation kits, including blankets and mattresses.

At the same time, our organisation is itself facing the destruction of its offices in Idlib, Syria. “No casualties have been reported, but our offices have been completely demolishedSome of our staff have lost their homes and have to be rehoused,” says Thomas Janny.

“It’s been more than 20 years since Turkey has experienced such a major earthquake. The situation is extremely worrying” says Thomas Janny.


Header picture: © Reuters / Khalil Ashawi

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