Generosity of donors allows Concern to expand operations in Turkey (Türkiye) and Syria

February 16, 2023

Concern Worldwide is expanding its operations in Turkey (Türkiye) and Syria as the focus in the aftermath of the February 6th earthquakes moves to supporting survivors facing freezing conditions.

“The response to our emergency appeal again illustrates the generosity of the public and businesses. Thanks to this support Concern can provide relief to more people affected by this devastating and life-altering earthquake,” said David Regan, Concern Worldwide CEO, who is currently in Turkey with the Concern team. “The money raised is being used now to provide essential aid to those impacted by the earthquakes.” 

Rescue efforts continue in the centre of the destroyed southern Turkish town of Kahramanmaras, close to the epicentre of the two 7.9 and 7.7 scale earthquakes to rock the country, in the early house of Monday morning this week. Residents were mostly sleeping, and tens of thousands of people are feared dead, as rescue efforts continue today, Tuesday 7th of February 2023.

Recovery and rebuilding will take many years.  Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes in Turkey and Syria. Survivors are traumatized and fearful of returning to damaged buildings due to their trauma. 

Learn more about how you can help Türkiye and Syria

The humanitarian organization is extending its response to eight of the 10 worst affected areas in Turkey to reach 25,000 households (150,000 people) in this response phase.  

Working in collaboration with international and local humanitarian organizations, Concern is supplying shelter, providing food, mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils, and heaters, building toilets and clean water supplies, and providing hygiene products.  

Concern is also providing essential psychosocial support to adults and children left traumatized by the earthquakes. The Turkish Disaster Management agency has reported at least 1,600 aftershocks, hampering rescue efforts and causing many of those affected to re-live the trauma.  

In northwest Syria its partner on the ground has begun work with Concern’s support, assisting 1,200 households (7,200 people) in Idlib and Aleppo with food, blankets, mattresses, cooking utensils, heaters, hygiene kits that include soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, female sanitary supplies, delivery of clean water and installation of emergency toilets, along with waste management. 

“The needs in northwest Syria are huge, and we’re still only getting an idea of the scale of the destruction. There was already a humanitarian disaster in the region prior to the earthquakes, with almost 90% of the population relying on humanitarian aid. This earthquake adds unthinkable additional suffering to people already extremely vulnerable,” said Mr. Regan, who visited the Turkish/Syrian border today. 

“The opening of two additional border crossings from Turkey into Syria is welcomed, bringing the total number to three, which is essential in getting aid to where it’s needed most.” 

The first shipment of one of Ireland’s largest ever deployment of emergency stocks, organized by the Department of Foreign Affairs, will arrive in Turkey today from Dubai. It includes blankets, tents, solar lamps, hygiene kits, kitchen sets and emergency shelter kits. Concern, along with GOAL and local partners, will be distributing these supplies to those who need it most over the weekend. 

Concern has been working for the last 10 years with Syrian refugee and host communities in many of the areas where the earthquakes struck. Immediately after the earthquakes, it distributed blankets, heaters and mattresses to emergency shelters, along with water and hot food, and construction of temporary shelters.  

The weather is unseasonably cold at the moment, with temperatures at night getting as low as 21 degrees Fahrenheit, and 10 degrees in some areas. 

“We lost 10 people in my family because of this earthquake, including my mother’s sister and her brother’s family. One of them was a two-month-old little baby. Everybody has been staying on the street. We are afraid another earthquake will come and more people will die. My family are on the street, my mother and my father,” said Burak*, a young man in Adiyaman, Turkey, who managed to free himself from the wreckage of their collapsed 8-story building and rescue both of his parents and his sister.  

He is planning to return to work as a mariner but says it will take him to earn the money to rent a new home. 

“We are finding wood to burn to stay warm. People have sent clothes and food, and we are very grateful. To people in other countries, I would say please send us help. The situation is so bad.” 

 *name changed to protect his identity 


Note to Editors 

  • The path of the earthquakes was approximately 250 miles. The Turkish authorities say there are approximately 13.5 million people living in that zone, while in Syria, there are an estimated four million people in the worst-hit areas affected, with Syrian authorities saying at least 12.5 million have been impacted across the country.  


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Media Contact: Candance Patel-Taylor, Vice President of Communications at [email protected] or 212-557-8000.