Teams from the Turkish Red Crescent deployed in ten affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items
Teams from the Turkish Red Crescent deployed in ten affected provinces with stocks of food and basic aid items

How DEC charities
are helping in
Turkey and Syria

How DEC charities are helping
survivors in Turkey and Syria

Teams from the Turkish Red Crescent deployed in ten affected provinces in Turkey with stocks of food and basic aid items such as tents and blankets to support those injured and evacuated. Photo: Turkish Red Crescent

i X

Thanks to the generosity of the UK public and the £150 million raised, DEC charities have been able to support hundreds of thousands of people in the affected areas across both countries. 

Funds are being used to provide vital assistance to the most vulnerable communities across the affected areas of southern Turkey and north-west Syria.


In north-west Syria around 60% of people in the region affected by the earthquakes were already displaced, many of them living in extreme hardship. 15.3 million people in Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance and 85% of households were unable to meet their basic needs.

The frontline between government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas runs through the regions worst affected by the earthquakes, and humanitarian agencies already faced provisional and uncertain access to these areas.

Many DEC charities were working in the region before the earthquake hit, including six members that were using funds in Syria raised by the DEC 2020 Coronavirus Appeal. Currently at least 25 local partners are working with DEC charities to get help where it’s most urgently needed.

A doctor from SEMA checks a patient in a mobile clinic in Syria

A doctor in a mobile clinic in Syria listens to Hakim's* heart and lungs in a project run by DEC charity Age International's partner SEMA. Photo: Karam Al-Masri/DEC

In the first 3 months of the response, DEC charities in Syria provided:
427,501 people were provided with access to safe drinking water through rehabilitation of water points, establishment of water stations, and water trucking.

One DEC member charity has improved access to safe water for 144,000 people by supplying generators and other materials to rehabilitate and repair critical water networks damaged by the earthquakes and providing safe drinking water through water trucking and the installation of 32 water tanks in affected areas.

Another DEC member charity has improved access to safe water supplies and adequate sanitation services for 39,200 people in 40 camps, as well as rehabilitating eight water pumping stations that serve more than 100,000 people.

48,260 people accessed improved health services such as mobile clinics, medical kits, and free medications.

One DEC member charity used a system of referral vehicles to provide a range of health support to people in areas affected by the earthquakes. In the days and weeks following the earthquakes, the project provided emergency health support to 3,585 people, including to 1,488 people in the first 12 days of the response. 

Medicines and disposables (bandages, casts, syringes and other items used in emergency and surgical procedures) were also been distributed to eight health facilities, supporting 26,736 people, including 2,773 emergency cases. 

Another DEC member charity supported its local partner to provide and equip seven mobile ambulances which were immediately operational to assist with rescue efforts, provide urgent medical care for injured people, and transport people to and from hospitals.

1,227 Households provided with temporary shelter, for example in the form of tents.

As the earthquakes occurred amidst harsh winter conditions, DEC member charities have been assisting displaced families with temporary shelters, blankets and mattresses, warm clothes, and heating support. 

One DEC member charity and its partners distributed 696 tents during February and March, supporting 3,890 people, and winterisation kits supporting 5,830 people. In addition to providing tents, one member charity also used DEC funds to build 331 ‘better shelter’ units – flat-pack single room temporary buildings that are more robust than tents.

With DEC funding, a further 1,500 New Arrival Kits – containing blankets, mattress, floor mat, tarpaulin, jerry can and solar lamp – were also procured and distributed. Heating support (stoves or fuel for stoves) was provided to 1,180 families, supporting a total of 6,350 individuals.


The humanitarian response in Turkey

The two earthquakes in southern Turkey directly impacted 9.1 million people with at least 50,000 people being killed. Three million people in Turkey were displaced to other parts of the country as more than 298,000 buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.

While government-led efforts are underway to move people to formal settlements, in May 2023 an estimated 1.6 million people are still living in informal settlements often close to destroyed or damaged houses.

The need for humanitarian support to the most vulnerable people remains urgent, particularly in the informal camps. NGOs and government entities continue to play a crucial role in providing support to these areas.

An Oxfam water truck provides water to earthquake survivors in Syria

Oxfam is using DEC funds to provide water to earthquake survivors in Syria. This water trucking delivered 182,000 litres of water to 26,000 people in 17 collective centres. Photo: Islam Mardini

In the first 3 months of the response, DEC charities in Turkey provided:
Food parcels and vouchers
112,577 people received food assistance through emergency food parcels and vouchers for food. 

After the earthquakes, some people in rural areas and informal settlements faced limited access to food due to market disruption affecting the availability and price of food supplies. 

One DEC member charity provided emergency food for immediate consumption (dates, cakes, juice, water) to 5,358 families, and food parcels containing essential items to 4,400 families. The parcels contained rice, bulgur wheat, sugar, olive oil, sunflower oil and tomato paste which could be stored and used as needed by the families. 

Another DEC member charity delivered 2,090 dry food kits (including rice, dates and flour) to families across three affected provinces. DEC members also supported community kitchens providing hot meals to displaced families. Two community kitchens supported by one DEC member charity prepared 41,600 hot meals for 896 people. 

Cash assistance
30,441 households benefited from cash or voucher assistance, so they have the flexibility to meet their specific needs, for example, to buy food, clothes or basic household needs.

The partner of one DEC member charity distributed 140,000 e-vouchers across 76 provinces in the country, supporting people in areas directly affected by the earthquakes and people who were displaced or relocated to other areas. 

DEC member charities are now moving towards providing multipurpose cash assistance through cash payments or transfers; providing money that families can use as they see fit, thereby giving them more flexibility in how, where and when they choose to spend the funds in order to meet their needs.

Hygiene kits
8,894 Households received hygiene kits containing laundry and dishwashing detergents, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap bars and shampoo. 

DEC member charities made sure that the hygiene kits met the needs of women and girls by consulting with them directly on the items required. After this consultation, one member charity provided each of 5,000 households with a hygiene kit containing 5 toothbrushes, 1 toothpaste, 2 bars of soap, 2 packs of wet wipes, 2 rubbish bags, 1 shampoo, 1 washing powder, 1 pack of sanitary pads, 1 bottle of hand disinfectant, and 2 toilet rolls. 

Another member charity consulted women in each household by visiting them in their tents and asking about their needs. All distributions were then done tent by tent, and items – particularly the dignity kits containing personal hygiene items – were delivered directly to women and girls in the household.

Your donations are making a difference

Donations from the UK public are allowing DEC charities to scale up their humanitarian response, deliver lifesaving aid and support survivors both now and in the weeks and months ahead.

The needs in both Turkey and Syria are huge. The earthquakes lasted for minutes, but the aftermath will last for years. Please donate now so DEC charities can continue to help provide the support survivors need.