With funding from Irish Aid, Christian Aid’s local partner Hurras Network handed out emergency kits to 2,500 children impacted by the earthquake. The emergency kits contained essentials such as food, blankets, warm clothing and soap as well as stationery to keep the children entertained.
One of those given a kit was six-year-old Sara* who was forced to take shelter in a tent with her family after the earthquake. Sara said: “Life here in camp is so tough. The tent is sometimes freezing and sometimes it’s too hot.”
Even during the most difficult of times, it’s vital that children are given opportunities to have fun to help them cope with their situation.
Ten-year-old Sami is one of the 4,000 children attending 100 child-friendly spaces set up by Hurras Network following the earthquake, thanks to funding from Cordaid. The spaces offer fun activities and a place for children to spend time together and play.
Sami has hearing problems and a speech impediment and was not attending school before the earthquake. At the child-friendly space, he was offered specialist one-to-one educational and emotional support.
Their teacher is 35-year-old Rawa, who could see the emotional toll the earthquake had on her students. “After the earthquake, the children felt scared, anxious and had difficulty focusing,” Rawa said.
The summer school proved to be a sanctuary for 12-year-old Salwa and played a pivotal role in helping her cope with the stresses of a traumatic year. "I feel very safe here. I am with my friends, which helps me forget about the earthquake,” she said.
Returning to school has also helped children think more positively about the future. Though for 11-year-old Mahmoud, his ambitions are directly linked to his recent experience.
One of these students was ten-year-old Renaad, who was worried at first about going back to school. “I was afraid of another earthquake happening while I'm away from my family. The school building is old, I was afraid it might collapse,” she said.
However, the summer school also taught calming techniques to the children to help them cope with any stresses they have felt since the earthquake.
In Turkey, the enormous damaged caused by the earthquakes is still obvious, where thousands of residential buildings collapsed as people slept.
Christian Aid’s partner MIDMAR (Managing Innovation and Development in Middle East and Arab Region) has been responding the needs in communities of Turkish, Syrian and Kurdish people in Gaziantep (southern Turkey) and to date have reached 6,750 people.
Many of these are families who received financial support equating to £255 (over three installments). Access to cash enabled families to purchase the supplies they needed to survive the difficult months directly after the earthquakes.
What is the current situation?
The humanitarian situation in Syria is reported to be at its worst point since the conflict started almost 13 years ago, with hostilities escalating in October 2023, and heavy rains and floods exacerbating already challenging conditions for displaced people in camps in the northwest.
Severe winter weather, sub-zero nighttime temperatures and ongoing bombings have led to damaged tents, water leakages, flooding in sewage lines and health risks from using unsafe heating materials.
Our partners have expressed an urgent need to improve access to medical facilities in affected areas, provide housing, repair damaged tents, improve camp infrastructure, distribute safe heating materials and increase food rations during the winter months.
Thank you to everyone who has donated. But there is more to do. Every prayer, every gift, every action brings hope to people hit by disaster.