Rescue teams slow reaching some quake-stricken areas of Türkiye and Syria

By February 9, 2023
turkiye syria earthquake [EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story, and the death toll has been updated. Previous version of this article stated over 12,000 people have been killed. Please keep following our coverage for the latest reports.]


Türkiye/Syria (MNN) — NGOs and aid groups from around the world have been deployed to assist in rescue and relief efforts in Türkiye and Syria. Monday’s devastating earthquakes have killed over 20,000 people so far. But in northwest Syria and parts of Türkiye, help hasn’t come yet. And the clock is ticking for trapped survivors.

Luis* with Christian Aid Mission says he spoke with a ministry partner in a quake-stricken area of Türkiye. The ministry partner learned that his cousin’s whole family died in a collapsed building.

turkiye syria earthquake

(Photo courtesy of Horizons International)

“There was no professional help or rescue teams. So people were in the streets in their pajamas, no electricity…. They send me videos of people digging with their hands in the rubble.

“One of the ministries we assist was able to be part of the rescue of a woman there, so they were very happy about it,” Luis says.

“Another ministry leader told me that there were really a lot of bodies in the streets. They’re not right now taking care of the dead bodies because the rescue of the ones that are still alive is a priority.”

Christian Aid Mission doesn’t send teams into Türkiye or Syria, but they financially support indigenous ministries through partnership. From one of their ministry partners in Syria, Luis says, “Two of their workers are still missing. One of them is the children’s ministry director, and another another team member is still missing.”

The last few years, Türkiye has been systematically denying foreign Christian workers’ visas. But now in crisis, aid organizations are being let in.

“President Erdogan declared a stage four emergency which means that international aid is needed. So the door is open for aid [from] outside of the country …. Will those organizations be able to stay long-term in Türkiye? I don’t know.”

turkiye syria earthquake

(Photo courtesy of Horizons International)

In the meantime, it’s up to local Christians to be the hands and feet of Jesus in crisis.

Luis requests “specific prayers, of course, [for] protection…. Another one is inner strength. For example, one of the leaders, he’s not been able to sleep because when he tries to go to sleep, he has this fear of another earthquake.

“Everything that they are experiencing and seeing, it leaves a toll in your soul. So [pray for] physical protection, but also protection in their emotions, in their soul, in their spirit also.”

Click here to give to Christian Aid Mission.








Header photo courtesy of Horizons International.

*Last name omitted for security.

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