Turkey & Syria Earthquake Update - ADRA Continues to Save Lives

Turkey & Syria Earthquake Update - ADRA Continues to Save Lives

Catherine Anthony Boldeau, ADRA UK

By the time most of you read this report, it will be 12 days since the Kahramanmaras earthquake affected the borders of south-eastern Turkey and north-western Syria. The disaster has been dubbed the worst in modern history in the region as the death toll passes 41,000. 

ADRA continues to escalate emergency response operations to deliver immediate relief to earthquake victims in Syria and Turkey. 

"Before the disaster happened, we were already in the region and have been for a long time, both in Syria and, in the past, also in Turkey. We are committed to supporting the communities in both nations," says Mario Oliveira, Director of Emergency Response Management for ADRA International. Because we have knowledge of the situation, we understand the environment and have the population's trust, and we can mobilise resources quickly to help the most affected.

Since the disaster struck, ADRA has been distributing food, water, clothing, and essential supplies, sheltering displaced families and implementing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects. The humanitarian organisation is working in collaboration with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the region, government leaders, and trusted partners to ensure that aid and resources reach affected communities.

ADRA Hungary Country Director Zoltan Zitkei, a search and rescue technician/paramedic, saves survivors in Turkey.

In Turkey, ADRA has a highly specialised technician assisting the Hungarian search and rescue team in locating people buried beneath the rubble near Hatay, Turkey. Five hundred thousand people have lost their homes. ADRA supplies critical tools for rescue operations, such as hammers and drills and concrete and metal cutting equipment.

"We are working in the ruins daily. We rescued six people, including two children. We are facing very difficult situations. It took us 14 hours to save a lady, who was found by our team. It was tough to get her out. We worked with the Turkish fire brigade. But finally, we found a solution and got her out," says Zoltan Sitkei, ADRA Country Director for Hungary and search and rescue technician/paramedic.

More than 5 million people have lost their homes, according to the United Nations (UN). Syria's ongoing civil war had already displaced thousands in the hardest-hit areas.

In Syria and Turkey, over 12,000 buildings, including 15 hospitals and 239 schools, were severely damaged or destroyed. The bitter cold has also hampered rescue efforts.

"The situation is dire. Thousands of people are still unaccounted for, trapped under the rubble. And many have no home to go to. So many people are sleeping in their cars, in makeshift tents, and makeshift shelters. Some are afraid to go home because they're worried about aftershocks and further damage," says Kelly Dowling, Emergency Response Programme Manager for ADRA International.

There is concern that sewage lines have contaminated water lines. As a result, ADRA aims to team up with local authorities in Syria to quickly repair and rehabilitate water facilities to improve water access in affected communities.

Visit  to learn more about ADRA's disaster relief efforts in Turkey, Syria, and other worldwide crises and how you can support ADRA's global humanitarian mission.