CBM is supporting our partner MERATH as they work with local churches and community partners to respond to the urgent needs of displaced and crisis-affected populations in Syria. The initial response will provide approximately 7000 families with emergency supplies including food, blankets, jackets and sweaters, emergency hygiene kits and diapers. A long-term relief strategy is also in place to support approximately 1000 families over the next 24 months as they continue to face the challenges related not only to this earthquake but also to the ongoing conflict and crisis in Syria.
CBM is part of the Baptist Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), which is a network of Baptist relief and development organizations that coordinate funding and activities during large humanitarian crises such as earthquakes and conflicts. We work in collaboration with this network to determine the best way to respond to a crisis so that the funds are used to meet the needs of local people and ensure that we are working through local churches while also coordinating with larger relief organizations.
For the Turkiye/Syria Earthquake, BFAD has chosen two lead organizations to carry out relief projects. MERATH (a Christian NGO in Lebanon that comes alongside local churches and faith-based organizations to help them implement relief and development projects), a long-time partner of CBM, is already at work to provide food, shelter and medical support. German Baptist Aid has partnered with the Turkish Baptist Alliance for a number of years to work with refugees in Izmir, Adana and Istanbul. German Baptist Aid is also on the ground providing food and medical supplies.
Another BFAD member, Hungarian Baptist Aid, is also working in Turkiye under the approval of the Hungarian ambassador to Turkiye. Hungarian Baptist Aid has been on the ground since February 6th with a team of highly trained search and rescue specialists and rescue dogs. They have been very involved in the rescue and recovery efforts and would like to continue to be involved by deploying a medical team to Turkiye as soon as possible.
In addition to this work with our global Baptist family, CBM is also a member of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank (CFGB). Other members of CFGB (ERDO, ADRA, MCC) are also responding in both Turkiye and Syria, and CBM will continue to discern the best ways to support these partners in their work.
Türkiye: There are telecommunication issues, and gas and energy are cut off to prevent some further issues. Many people are staying outside. 20 million people live in the area hit by the earthquake, and currently, about 13 million people are living outdoors while many are trying to leave that area to go to Western Türkiye. There are still people who are waiting to be rescued, and people are still being found alive. Only professionals to help with search and rescue are allowed to serve in the area at the moment to prevent overcrowding.
Syria: The damage isn’t as significant as in Türkiye, but there is still quite a bit of damage. The earthquake damage is on top of the damage from years of war. There is also the reality of trauma and the re-traumatization that this disaster has caused for some people. Economic needs are significant, and there was recently a cholera outbreak. Communication is difficult as there is a lack of fuel to power generators. There has already been some internal migration as churches receive people who have already been on the move for so much of their lives.
Updates from partners:
From David Gal, Hungarian Baptist Aid
Hungarian Baptist Aid’s Rescue24 International Special Search and Rescue Team combined with emergency medical staff has taken off from the Budapest Airport at 22:30PM local time. The team, consisting of 19 specialists with 7 rescue dogs was organized by HBAid rescue commander László Pavelcze after the Turkish authorities asked for international help. They are transporting over two metric tons of equipment and have made contact with the Turkish responders who have collaborated with them in the past. The Hungarian Baptist search and rescue team has helped in Türkiye both in 1999 and in 2001 after devastating earthquakes similar to the one that struck earlier today.
From Hurrem, one of the leaders within the Turkish Baptist Alliance
“We had the worst earthquake in Türkiye since 1939. The first big earthquake was 7.7, and it happened at 4 am in the morning. The center of the earthquake was the southeastern city of Kahramanmaraş, and nine cities around were all affected. The second big earthquake was 7.4, and 145 earthquakes aftershocks happened. 10 cities in southeast Türkiye were seriously affected. More than 1.500 people died, and sadly it will highly increase. We can not foresee how many people will die. 9.700 people were injured. 3.500 buildings have collapsed. Our country is in great shock. Many buildings are damaged. People left their homes and their cities. There are a lot of traffic jams, and it is very cold; it is snowing in most of the cities. This week the weather will be below 0 Celsius. The roads are also seriously damaged. This makes the search and rescues more difficult. For the next 72 hours, only Professional search and rescue teams are allowed to go to the earthquake area.
Thanks to the Lord, our Baptist churches and the members are all well. Adana is among the affected cities. 15 buildings collapsed, and many were damaged. It is not clear if the building where the church is meeting is damaged or not. Two neighbouring buildings collapsed to where the pastor of the Adana Baptist Church and General Secretary of our Union and his family is living. The church members of Adana Baptist Church are all fine. They are waiting in cars and parks.”
The hometown of Abdullah Ergüven, Pastor of Istanbul Baptist Church, is Kahramanmaras. He has relatives and friends who are affected. He wants to go there, but the roads and airports are closed at the moment.
From Samir (president of the Baptist Convention of Syria)
Thanks be unto God, only 5,5 the earthquake stroke Damascus, while in Aleppo, it was so damaging it’s said that some aftershocks will take place within a few days. The Lord is supervising our lives.
Give directly to
Thank you! Your donation helps pastors, who play a vital role in the mission of the church.