What life is like now for Turkiye quake survivors two months out

By April 6, 2023

Turkiye (MNN) — Today is the two-month anniversary of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that killed over 50,000 people in Turkiye and Syria.

Now, a couple of months out, what is life like for earthquake survivors?

Unto is the humanitarian arm of Cru and sister ministry to Jesus Film Project. Al Goff, President and CEO of Unto, says in Turkiye there are still daily aftershocks and over two million people are sleeping in tents.

“It’s almost like the place is always moving so people are scared to death to even move inside buildings that look stable for fear that they are cracked and could come down in any one of a number of aftershocks they’re feeling that day,” says Goff.

(Photo courtesy of Unto)

“One of my staff was there. After he left after about a week, he described it as like being at sea. After a week, he got to an area that wasn’t shaking and he felt that sensation of being on a boat because it was shaking so much.”

Unto supports local Turkish Christians as they provide their communities with emergency aid like tarps, blankets, meals, and water filters. But maybe the biggest act of love is just sitting and listening to quake survivors.

Goff says, “The stories have just been pouring out of people because typically all they have to talk to is other victims…. When you’ve been through a trauma like that and you’ve only been around other victims, no one wants to listen to your story. So when you can get around people that weren’t at that earthquake and [they] ask, ‘Tell me about your experience,’…it’s such a relief. It really allows people to breathe.”

Churches also want to help kids process what they’ve been through and find ways to still be kids.

“We’ve also been providing recreational equipment because there are all these kids with nothing to do. School is canceled, and there’s nothing to do so providing even soccer balls and things like this,” says Goff.

“Or…providing just little toys like a stuffed animal that they can just hug and hold and cry, because all of their toys are gone beneath the rubble. It can be just breath to a mama, to a to a child who just needs something to hug and hold because the ground is still shaking and every time it shakes, that terror hits them again.”

turkiye syria earthquake

(Photo courtesy of Horizons International)

This critical ministry is in it for the long-haul as Turkiye grapples with relief needs now months after the quake is out of the mainstream headlines.

You can support the Unto Disaster Relief Initiative here!

Goff says Unto is “resourcing the Turkish Church to help their own people so that they, not Unto, are seen as the real champions in ministering God’s love.”

Pray for opportunities to encourage Turkish quake survivors with the Gospel and God’s comfort.

“These people are growing weary and we don’t want them weary in doing good. We want to be Aaron and Hur holding up their arms in prayer as they minister to the incredible needs of these people.”







Header photo courtesy of FMI.

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