Cologne/Gaziantep. Malteser International expands its emergency aid for the people affected by the earthquake in Syria and Türkiye. For this purpose, the German Federal Foreign Office has provided one million euro for Malteser International's emergency relief in Syria. The money will be used to procure urgently needed relief supplies such as blankets, mattresses, tents and food. The need is huge: according to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 23 million people in Syria and Türkiye have been affected by the consequences of the quakes. In the two countries, a combined total of more than 10,000 houses have been destroyed.
Malteser International is supporting the relief efforts of the local Malteser team from the border town of Kilis, which is located about one hour away from the Turkish city Gaziantep. From here, Malteser International organizes emergency relief for the people in Türkiye and Syria.
“We are working on the ground, to get people the aid that is most urgently needed. The temperatures are freezing, the people urgently need blankets, mattrasses, tents and hot meals”, reports Oliver Hochedez, Head of Malteser International’s Emergency Relief Department.
From Türkiye, at least 18 staff members of Malteser International are also coordinating aid projects in the Syrian border region. Since 2012, the team in Türkiye has been supporting various projects for Syrian refugees in Türkiye as well as health facilities and refugee camps in the region of Idlib in northwest Syria. Direct entry into Syria is currently not possible for aid organizations. “We are therefore implementing aid for the people in northwestern Syria through long-standing local partner organizations. These take over the distribution of aid to the affected people,” Hochedez reports.
The situation in Syria is particularly precarious following the destructive earthquakes on Monday morning. People have been suffering from the civil war in their country for almost twelve years, the infrastructure is damaged, many people are starving and have no access to medical care. According to figures by the UN OCHA, 4.1 million people in northwestern Syria were already dependent on humanitarian aid prior to the event. Around 2.9 million people live as internally displaced persons in their own country, around 1.8 million of which live in refugee camps.
Oliver Hochedez, Head of Emergency Relief, and Katharina Kiecol, Press Officer of Malteser International are available for interviews and sound bites in Kilis.
Operator: +49 (0)221 9822-7180, kathrin.muenker(at)malteser-international.org