Red Cross, Red Crescent Team Respond to the Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria

Millions of people in southeastern Türkiye and bordering Syria were affected after two earthquakes (magnitude 7.7 and 7.6) struck February 6, followed by several additional strong quakes, including one earlier this week.

The earthquake caused severe disruption to sanitation and access to clean water. The increasing risk of communicable diseases, complications of non-communicable diseases and disruption to primary health services remains a threat.

For survivors, the journey to recovery has only just begun. Many continued to leave quake-hit areas to seek shelter with loved ones, in neighboring towns or in emergency shelters.

GLOBAL RESPONSE More than 9,000 volunteers and staff from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent have been on the ground to assist since the first two earthquakes struck. Both Red Cross Societies are at the heart of this response. Many have been affected themselves, having lost their homes and loved ones, but are responding around the clock to provide life-saving care every day. Learn more in this video.

To support the earthquake response, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) rallied support from around the world. Dozens of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have offered technical support and nearly 60 National Societies have started domestic fundraising campaigns.

For its part, the American Red Cross received funds to support the Red Cross Red Crescent’s global response to help people affected by the Türkiye earthquake. In addition, the American Red Cross has contributed two disaster responders to the relief effort, specializing in communications and information management while continuing to assess and coordinate with global Red Cross to support ongoing needs.

So far, the responses have included:

  • More than 80 million hot meals were distributed to people affected by the earthquake.
  • Cash vouchers were distributed to around 140,000 households to meet urgent needs.
  • More than 54,000 tents and 107,000 blankets have been distributed in the worst affected areas.
  • Six mobile clinics support rural communities and collective shelters with health services.
  • Tens of thousands of relief items, including cleaning kits, winter shelters, blankets and other household items have also been provided to affected people.

IN TURKEYefforts are focused on reaching survivors where they will provide essential assistance.
The Turkish Red Crescent’s more than 5,000 staff and volunteers continue to provide food, clean water, and essential cleaning and relief supplies.

Together with the Ministry of Health, the Turkish Red Crescent is now providing health care in rural areas and in temporary shelters to help improve access to services, with IFRC technical support. Seven units are already running and five more are coming. The Turkish Red Crescent also operates the largest camp with available toilet and bathing facilities. Where markets function, cash as humanitarian assistance helps empower those who receive it by giving them the freedom to buy what they need most.

IN SYRIAThe Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) continues to be the main humanitarian group and its earthquake response operations cover the affected region.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent’s 4,000 staff and volunteers have provided more than 2.7 million humanitarian services. Mobile clinics and health units have provided health care and medicines to more than 54,000 people. More than 1.2 million relief items have been distributed to provide support to more than 1.8 million people, including shelter, blankets, mattresses, winter clothing, hygiene supplies, and food and agricultural supplies.

Many of those affected by the quake were already living in vulnerable conditions before the quake in Syria. Red Crescent aid arrives in Northern Syria but access in Idlib remains difficult. The SARC is currently working around the clock in Hama, Aleppo, Tartous and Lattakia.

Providing water, sanitation and health services to prevent an outbreak is critical in northern Syria. Before the earthquake, Syria was facing a cholera outbreak with its entire healthcare system already weakened. The IFRC Network has worked tirelessly to help more than 1.5 million people at risk since last year. The Palestinian Red Crescent team is working in the camps for Palestinian refugees in Syria.

BIG NEED The magnitude of this response requires a team effort. No single institution can manage needs alone. The humanitarian needs are immense among the hundreds of thousands of people who faced hardships before the earthquake struck – including those fleeing the conflicts in Syria and Türkiye.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Turkish Red Crescent Societies will continue to support people fleeing conflict with partners and officials on the ground. Respondents in Damascus are working to find and deliver goods to people in affected areas in the northern region of Syria. Across the country, conditions were appalling. 12 years of conflict, a worsening economic crisis, scarce infrastructure and access challenges combined with a devastating earthquake have increased humanitarian needs. Fuel and equipment were also in low supply.

HOW TO LOOK FOR A LOST LOVED PERSON Those who are unable to contact US citizens missing in Türkiye or Syria should contact the US Department of State’s Office of Foreign Citizens Services online or at 1-888-407-4747. More information can be found here.

If you are looking for loved ones in Türkiye, please contact the Turkish Red Crescent at [email protected] If you are looking for loved ones in Syria, please call these telephone numbers: Aleppo: +963 (0)950000822; Pest: +983 (0)9950000824; Latakia: +963(0)950000827; Tartus: +963 (0)950000928.

CAN I DONATE OR DONATE ITEMS? The American Red Cross sends highly specialized and experienced professionals with technical skills and expertise overseas only after a Red Cross or Red Crescent team requests assistance. Those who are not already on the Red Cross’s list of international disasters will not have the opportunity to be placed at this time. We encourage you to connect with your local Red Cross branch for future opportunities or visit for more information.

While we are grateful for the outpouring of support, it is important to know that neither the American Red Cross, nor our global Red Cross partners, are accepting donations of items such as food, clothing, blankets, or toys at this time. These items can be difficult to manage in the field and divert resources from our mission.

HOW CAN YOU HELP Increased global support and solidarity to provide humanitarian assistance is critical in the weeks and months of recovery ahead. You can donate to support the earthquake response through the American Red Cross. For those who are interested in helping people affected by the Türkiye (Turkey) earthquake, we ask them to write “Earthquake Türkiye (Turkey)” on the check memo line and send it with the completed donation form to the address on the form or to a branch of the Cross. Their local red. Your donation enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to, and help people recover from this disaster.

As the scale of the devastation of the earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye became clearer, the IFRC increased its Emergency Request to 650 million Swiss francs in response to the growing humanitarian needs in both countries. Donate directly to @IFRC here.

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