Christian organizations and networks immediately mobilized to help survivors of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria. On February 6, two earthquakes hit southern Turkey—the first had a magnitude of 7.8 followed by a 7.5-magnitude nine hours later. As of this writing, the disaster killed over 21,000 people and left almost 80,000 injured.
The Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey (TeK, also known as Turkish Evangelical Alliance) issued a statement on February 7 saying, “As of the morning, teams from all over the world and from Turkey are working hard in the region. Please remember them in your prayers. Our team will start working in Antep.”
We are responding to meet needs in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for all those who are suffering. —Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse
An evangelical pastor in western Turkey said going to the areas affected by the earthquake is a tough task because of road closures and bad weather conditions (rain and freezing temperatures). However, despite the challenges, Christian organizations have arrived to cities Iskenderun and Antakya (historically known as Antioch), reports Evangelical Focus.
Samaritan’s Purse airlifted a 52-bed Emergency Field Hospital and dozens of medical personnel to Turkey. The hospital includes two emergency operating rooms and a pharmacy. Emergency relief supplies, including tarps, blankets, and solar lights will be transported to Antakya.
“This massive earthquake has devastated Turkey,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and are searching for their loved ones. It is cold there and survivors are in shock—they need our help. We are responding to meet needs in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for all those who are suffering.”
Members of the radio ministry Shema Media Group brought supplies to the affected cities. They revealed that, “there is so much damage and very little help that has made it to Iskenderun.” Despite heartbreaking news of missing individuals and destroyed homes and buildings, they said many have been rescued. “Praise God over 7,000 have been safely removed from the rubble, but so many people still wait to be rescued with no rescue teams in sight! Pray that God show mercy!”
The Association of Protestant Churches in Turkey stated, “We are all experiencing a deep shock after the disastrous earthquake. Many churches and believers in the earthquake zone are working hard to help victims while at the same time struggling with their own difficulties and pain. Let us not neglect to support them with our prayers.”
Christian Aid is working with partners in northwest Syria to provide winter kits, including blankets, mattresses, food parcels and heating material. Shelters have been set up to help people who lost their homes. Even before the earthquake, more than 4 million people are in need of aid in northwest Syria. With the recent tragedy, more Syrians are facing another crisis.
“The scenes from this disaster are heartbreaking,” said Patrick Watt, CEO of Christian Aid. “We are hopeful that the British public will show the same spirit of solidarity and compassion that we saw in the aftermath of the invasion of Ukraine a year ago. Every prayer, every gift, every action brings hope to people hit by disaster. By joining us, you can help people in need rebuild their lives.”
Ibrahim Najjar, a local Open Doors partner in Syria, said people in Aleppo are still in shock. “What we’re doing now is providing shelter for the Christians at some churches and providing them with food and warmth – it’s very cold now.” He disclosed that more than 20,000 Christians are staying in the streets fearful of aftershocks. Emergency workers are working double-time to search for survivors under the rubble.
“We want the love of Christ to be reflected in what we are doing,” Ibrahim said. “It’s a good opportunity to embrace the people – and to bring greater unity between the churches, because all churches are now working together to serve Christians living in Aleppo and helping them to survive.”
How to help
Various Christian organizations are responding to the disaster. Contact your local church on how you can send help.