Fact file: One year on from the Turkey-Syria earthquakes, the full impact of the disaster and how UK donations are helping

**A selection of images and footage from Turkey and Syria is available here. Additional images and footage available on request** 

One year on from the devastating earthquakes that hit Turkey (now known as Türkiye) and Syria, the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) has brought together a comprehensive analysis showing the full impact of the disaster, and the response funded by donations from the UK public to the DEC’s appeal.  

Bringing together 15 leading UK aid charities, the DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal has raised over £150 million, including £5 million matched by the UK Government through the Aid Match scheme. The DEC is the biggest charity donor to the earthquake response, according to UN OCHA’s Financial Tracking Service, and the appeal is the third largest in the DEC’s 60-year history.  

Donations from the UK enabled the DEC’s member charities and their local partners to help more than a million people in the first six months following the disaster, and are now helping people begin to rebuild their lives.

The earthquake lasted just seconds, but it will take years to recover from. It took months for the full impact of the earthquake to become clear, and the figures below bring together a picture of the extensive impact across both Turkey and Syria. Many people remain in camps and temporary accommodation, having endured freezing cold, floods and an extreme heatwave in the year since the disaster. 

The earthquakes: 

  • The earthquakes measured 7.8 and 7.6 on the Richter scale and occurred at 4.17am and 1.24pm local time on 6 Feb 2023.  
  • Both epicentres were located in southern Turkey. They were the strongest earthquakes to hit Turkey since 1939.
  • Substantial shaking was felt over approximately 350,000 sq km (140,000 sq miles) - an area larger than the UK and Ireland.
  • In the three months that followed, there were more than 30,000 aftershocks, including 570 in the first 24 hours.
  • According to research from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the earthquakes caused so much damage due to an unlikely “cascade” of ruptures along existing fault lines, breaking through bends that usually act as junctions. The second earthquake was so strong because of a phenomenon called a “supershear rupture” which causes a sonic boom-like effect, amplifying its destructive power. As a result the earthquakes were much bigger than any previous quakes along the same fault lines. 

Overall impact: 

  • At least 56,683 people were killed - 50,783 in Turkey and at least 5,900 in Syria - making it the deadliest earthquake globally since Haiti in 2010.
  • Another 118,404 people were injured. 107,204 of those were in Turkey, including 850 who lost limbs as a result of their injuries. At least 11,200 people were injured in Syria.
  • Nearly 18 million people were left in immediate need of humanitarian assistance including food, clean water and a place to live. 


  • A total of 9.1 million people were affected by the earthquakes in Turkey, according to the UN.
  • Approximately 3 million people were displaced from the affected areas to other parts of Turkey.
  • As of December 2023, 787,000 people were still living in temporary camps.  
  • Turkey hosts around 4 million refugees - the highest number in the world - predominantly from Syria, and around 1.7 million were living in the areas worst affected by the earthquakes.
  • 7,302 of the 50,783 people killed in Turkey were refugees from Syria, according to Turkish authorities.
  • Nearly 300,000 buildings were destroyed or badly damaged, according to UN figures.
  • In Hatay, one of the worst affected provinces, the Turkish Government says that 42% of residential buildings and 40% of non-residential buildings were destroyed or badly damaged. Much of the historic provincial capital Antakya was completely destroyed.
  • The Turkish Chamber of Environmental Engineers estimated that over 90 billion kilograms of construction and demolition waste had been created by the earthquake - about 15 times the weight of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
  • A study by the International Pediatric Association found that 4.8 million children in Turkey, roughly one in five - were affected psychologically, physically or socially by the earthquake.
  • Almost 220,000 workplaces are no longer in use due to the effects of the earthquakes, according to the International Labour Organisation.


  • The earthquakes struck Syria after almost 12 years of civil war, with an active frontline running through the earthquake zone.
  • Over 15 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance before the earthquakes struck.
  • The UN estimated that 8.8 million people were affected by the earthquakes in Syria, including 3.7 million children, according to Unicef.
  • According to UN figures, more than 10,600 buildings in Syria were destroyed or badly damaged. Around 265,000 people lost their homes.
  • According to the UN, 2 million people are now living in camps and shelters in north-west Syria due to a combination of the conflict and the earthquakes, with 800,000 of those living in tents.
  • The World Health Organisation reported that 116 health facilities in Syria had been damaged by the earthquakes, with 15 in northwest Syria having to suspend their activities.  
  • At least 1,000 primary and secondary schools were damaged. The number of children out of school in northwest Syria grew by 25 percent to 1 million, according to Unicef.
  • The UN estimated that there was at least 650,000 cubic metres of building debris that needed to be removed - enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall seven times over.
  • Cholera was already present in the areas of Syria worst affected by the earthquake, which further disrupted the availability of clean water by damaging water tanks and pipes.
  • According to the International Labour Organisation, around 170,000 workers lost their jobs in Syria due to the earthquakes, affecting a total of 725,000 people in total when taking into account their families.  
  • At the same time, the World Food Programme reported that food prices soared, with the price of bread increasing 20 percent in a week in Aleppo province.
  • World Health Organisation research found that for every two people who were injured in the earthquake in Syria, one person died, suggesting that the ratio was so high because of a lack of access for search and rescue teams and heavy equipment in the hours and days after the earthquake, and the poor quality of construction in the area that caused many buildings to collapse completely. Both these factors illustrate how the civil war has left people much more vulnerable to a disaster of this scale.
  • The conflict has continued in the wake of the disaster, with 99 civilians killed since October. 

DEC-funded response

In the first six months of the response, DEC charities and their local partners used £31.5 million in DEC funding to reach more than a million people with aid. This included providing: 

  • 921,000 people with access to safe drinking water  
  • 269,000 people with emergency food parcels or vouchers to buy food  
  • 285,000 people with cash payments or vouchers to meet their basic needs  
  • 186,000 people with hygiene kits including laundry soap and washing up liquid, soap, toothpaste and toothbrushes  
  • 150,000 people with household kits including blankets, kitchen items and clothing  
  • 42,300 people with access to healthcare, including medicines and medical items  
  • 34,100 people with mental health or psychosocial support  

Of the 31.5 million: 

  • 32% was spent on providing people with cash payments or vouchers to meet their basic needs
  • 27% was spent on providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene, for example by repairing damaged water infrastructure, building toilets and providing hygiene kits
  • 14% was spent on providing shelter and household items including cooking utensils and blankets
  • 13% was spent on providing food parcels, hot meals or vouchers to buy food
  • 5% was spent on providing safe spaces and protecting vulnerable people
  • 3% was spent on healthcare 

£48 million was donated directly to DEC member charities. The DEC does not report on this expenditure. 

Remaining DEC funds are being spent in the second phase of the response which is currently underway and runs until January 2025. During this period, DEC member charities and their local partners are continuing to focus on providing cash payments and vouchers as well as access to clean water, with an increased emphasis on rebuilding people’s livelihoods to enable them to support themselves, and also on providing healthcare. DEC charities have also refurbished schools and supported a maternity hospital in northwest Syria.

A full progress report on the appeal, published this week, is available here


Notes to editors:      

Media enquiries please call 07734 653616 or email sgard@dec.org.uk          


  • Madara Hettiarachchi, the DEC’s Director of Programmes and Accountability will be available for interview from Gaziantep, Turkey, on the week of the anniversary of the disaster, following visits to projects funded by the appeal.


  • Saleh Saeed, the DEC’s Chief Executive, who has also visited the affected areas in Turkey, will be available in London.

A collection of images and video footage of the aftermath of the earthquake and DEC charities responding is available here. Further images and footage are available on request.

About the DEC: The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities at times of crisis overseas to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. The DEC’s 15 member charities are: Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.          

Fourteen of the DEC’s 15 members are responding in Turkey and/or Syria and will receive funds from this appeal. Some may work through trusted local partners. They are Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Save the Children UK, Tearfund and World Vision UK.          

Through UK Aid Match the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) gives the British public the opportunity to have a say in how the UK aid budget is spent whilst boosting the impact of the very best British charities to change and save the lives of some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people.        

UK Aid Match has increased the impact of a number of DEC appeals to help those in need around the world, including most recently Pakistan Floods Appeal and Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, both in 2022.  The UK matched up to £25 million of public donations to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal - the largest commitment ever made to a DEC appeal through UK Aid Match.        

Enquiries about UK Aid Match and UK Government support for Turkey/Syria should be directed to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Newsdesk. Please email newsdesk@fcdo.gov.uk    

How to donate:            

  • Online: dec.org.uk  
  • Phone: 0370 60 60 610        
  • Text to give/SMS: for press releases: text SUPPORT to 70787 to donate £10. Other partners should use the specific text codes they have been provided with by the DEC.        
  • Donate over the counter at any high street bank or post office, or send a cheque by post to: DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.