Several significant earthquakes with hundreds of aftershocks struck southern Turkey and northern Syria on February 6, 2023. Due to the devastation of infrastructure and the frigid temperatures in the afflicted areas, thousands more lives are at risk than were lost in the original earthquakes.
In the hours and days that follow the earthquakes, efforts are concentrated on searching for survivors among the wreckage of fallen structures. There are also immediate requirements for those who have suffered bodily harm, as well as for those who have lost their houses, to provide food, water, and shelter. It is also crucial to provide ongoing access to fundamental healthcare services.
WHO is supporting the response in both Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic in a number of ways:
- dispatch of life-saving medicines and other medical supplies;
- the activation of its Emergency Medical Teams Network to provide essential health services and supplies to care for those in need;
- liaison with disease surveillance and rapid response teams to ensure ongoing surveillance and detection of water-borne, infectious and respiratory diseases, as well as preparedness for any outbreak; and
- support for the mental health and psychosocial response.
Staff already working in Türkiye and Syria are providing full support to local authorities of the two countries. Response efforts and deployments from WHO regional offices and headquarters are ongoing.