One year on: How you can help those affected by the Türkiye and Syria earthquakes 

In February 2023 two powerful earthquakes struck in southern Türkiye, near the Syrian border, taking the lives of more than 57,000 people, with many more injured and missing. Countries across the region were affected, including thousands of refugees, internally displaced people and the communities that have been generously hosting them for many years.


How to help refugees impacted by the Türkiye and Syria earthquakes

On 6th February 2023, two devastating earthquakes struck south-eastern Türkiye, near the Syrian border. The initial 7.7-magnitude earthquake struck before dawn, devastating entire sections of major cities. With its epicentre near the Turkish city of Gaziantep, tremors were felt in many neighbouring countries.  

Less than 12 hours later, a second powerful earthquake followed.

The earthquakes impacted 15 million people over the 11 hardest-hit provinces in Türkiye, which hosts the largest refugee population in the world. More than 1.7 million refugees, mostly Syrians, reside in the affected provinces.

In Syria, an estimated 8.8 million people were affected, including in north-west Syria where over 4.1 million people were already dependent on aid, compounding the devastation of 12 years of crisis.  

Homes and public infrastructure have been severely damaged, with many buildings having collapsed or at risk of collapse. Roads and telecommunication networks are also affected, hindering search and rescue efforts.

Families who had been forced to flee from Syria were already facing harsh winter conditions. After the earthquakes, many are still living in temporary shelters and struggling to survive the cold winter months.

From day one, UNHCR supported earthquake response efforts by quickly mobilising life-saving assistance and protection services.

Make a donation and send help now

In Türkiye, 2.9 million core relief items were delivered to support national and local authorities to respond to the needs of people, including for equipping temporary accommodation centres. Nearly 17,400 refugees were assessed by UNHCR and received comprehensive counselling, while an additional 3,000 people received legal counselling through legal clinics in five provinces in the southeast region. Furthermore, 39,100 people received UNHCR’s Specific Needs Fund cash assistance.

In the whole of Syria, UNHCR reached over 311,000 people with protection interventions and assisted more than 342,000 with 68,547 core relief items, as well as 53,000 people with tents in northwest Syria. UNHCR-led Protection Cluster provided psychosocial support and psychological first aid to more than 117,000 individuals and awareness sessions for some 107,000 people in northwest Syria.

UNHCR were able to reach many of the families in need, but the cold winter months have taken their toll and many are still in urgent need of assistance. Please support now. 

Learn more – Türkiye

Türkiye hosts the world’s largest refugee population for the eighth consecutive year, with just over 4 million refugees and asylum-seekers – including over 3.7 million Syrian refugees.  

Visit the UNHCR website to find the latest Factsheet on the Türkiye operation.


Learn more – conflict in Syria

Although the epicentre of the earthquake was in neighbouring Turkey, nearby north-west Syria has also been significantly impacted. This series of catastrophic earthquakes and aftershocks are the latest tragedies to strike a region that has been devastated by conflict for 12 years.  

UNHCR has been assisting millions of internally displaced people from Syria, many of whom live in extreme poverty. This earthquake has reportedly damaged roads, making it difficult to deliver aid. Despite the challenges, UNHCR is committed to staying and delivering wherever possible to help those whose lives have been destroyed by the earthquake. 

To find out more about the situation in Syria, please visit our website here. 

Fundraise for displaced families in the region

Fundraising for those affected by the devastating earthquakes is a great way to help raise money. There are lots of ways to get involved – from taking on a sporting challenge to organising an event at work, home or school, or simply asking for donations instead of birthday or wedding gifts. For more information, please visit our fundraising page.    

Once you’ve decided how you’ll fundraise for those impacted by the Türkiye and Syria earthquakes, you can set up your online fundraising page on JustGiving – it takes just 5 minutes!

Learn more about the Türkiye & Syria earthquakes

Hajira and Matiullah hold hands as they walk through a marketplace in Afghanistan

UNHCR responds to deadly earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

Teams from the UN Refugee Agency are on the ground to provide life-saving assistance to families affected by the disaster.

Afghanistan situation: worsening conflict in northern Afghanistan uproots thousands

Vital aid reaches Syrian quake survivors who – again – have lost everything

UNHCR delivers assistance to families left homeless by the disaster, while reopening of aid route to northwest Syria offers hope to those already displaced during country’s 12-year crisis.

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