Earthquake Medical Aid: Syria, Turkey

Project: Medical Aid for Earthquake Survivors in northern Syria and southeast Turkey

Refugee Protection International and Humanitarian Initiative Association (HIA) (2022-2023)

Project Summary: Refugee Protection International and Turkey-based charity partners assisted over 21,093 survivors, including 4,735 with medical needs, in the initial weeks following the Feb 2023 earthquakes in Syria (Idlib, Aleppo regions) and Turkey (Kahramanmaras, Antakya, Reyhanli, Gaziantep regions). This featured project with RPI’s Turkey-based refugee-led partner Humanitarian Initiative Association (HIA) builds on years of jointly supporting medical aid in war-torn northwest Syria, during HIA staff’s time at RPI’s former partner SIMRO. Since the 2023 earthquake, HIA provided RPI-funded pharmaceuticals to survivors at 3 primary health care centers (PHCs), replaced a damaged PHC generator, and sustained basic operations in quake-affected communities thanks to our giving community.

RPI scaled this initial response to support additional quake survivors by funding HIA’s rapid response teams (RRTs) to fight acute malnutrition and support mental health care. Pre-earthquake, RPI and Turkey-based charity partner Orkide had assisted some 60,000 children under 5, pregnant and lactating women through community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) and IYCF counseling with funding from RPI and in-kind nutrition supplies from UNICEF. This number now stands at some 88,000 young children and women.

Background: Since the initial 7.8 magnitude earthquake on February 6th, 2023, over 50,000 civilians have died in Turkey and Syria, with millions in need of aid. In the first 2 weeks, 3,081 patients were seen by RPI partner HIA’s health workers in quake-affected areas of Idlib region, Syria, of which 89 lost their lives. The UN also supports HIA’s medical efforts, with RPI filling urgent gaps.

RPI worked with HIA management and key staff for years when they were at Turkey-based former refugee-led partner SIMRO. Key joint efforts included COVID-19 screening at Idlib’s key internal medicine hospital and moving underground the largest pediatric hospital in Idlib region, Syria to protect patients and medical workers from aerial bombing.


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