Türkiye/Syria (MNN) — United Nations experts say the February 6 earthquakes in southern Türkiye left at least 1.5 million people homeless. Demolition crews have already begun clearing rubble from the streets but face a phenomenal task.
The scale of the debris is seven times worse than Türkiye’s last major earthquake in 1999.
Türkiye’s 1999 disaster left behind 13 million tons of rubble. Estimates range between 116- and 211 million tons of wreckage from the earthquakes earlier this month.
“[This is] the largest earthquake disaster in Türkiye’s history and perhaps the largest natural disaster the country has ever faced,” Louisa Vinton, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Türkiye Resident Representative, told reporters this week.
The earthquakes broke more than buildings and infrastructure. Survivors show increasing signs of post-traumatic stress.
“So many people who [survived] this earthquake were refugees from Syria to Turkey. Imagine the agony they are going through,” Fadi Sharaiha of the MENA Leadership Center says.
Meanwhile, responders report “major damage” in northern Syria. At least 900,000 people need emergency shelter:
Protection is a growing issue, with a large number of unaccompanied children and overcrowded shelters, sexual harassment and inadequate shelter arrangements remains a concern.
Sharaiha says, “Rebuilding will be very tricky for Syria [because of] the war and sanctions; they cannot get many things into the country. Right now, they have grace for three- to six months to get as much in as possible.”
MENA Leadership Center provides training so believers in the region can help earthquake survivors. This weekend, MLC will host a trauma counseling course online.
In two weeks, a refugee care course will be available in English and Arabic. Learn more here. “If you have a ministry working with refugees in the Middle East and you speak other languages, please let us know,” Sharaiha says.
“We would love to have you in this course.”
Most importantly, pray. “I would like you all to pray for what is happening in Syria and Türkiye, that [it] will be used for the glory of God,” Sharaiha requests.
“Please pray that the Church will [use] this opportunity to minister to people. Pray for us as we discern how to move forward. Most of our courses are online; do we need to go and do courses over there? When is the right time? These are some of the things I would encourage you to pray for.”
Header image courtesy of Horizons International.