One week after the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria, aid organization and local units continue to work around-the-clock to provide medical and relief supply to the millions of people affected. Through local partner organizations in Syria, Malteser International is distributing tents, beds, blankets and food to people in need is already in progress.
“We are supporting our partner organizations on the ground with the procurement and distribution of relief supplies. Tents, generators, blankets, mattresses, and food are currently needed the most. The injured, the sick, the elderly and children are in particular need of care and protection right now. Every euro is needed since there are so many people who are immensely affected” says Oliver Hochedez, Head of the Emergency Relief Department of Malteser International, who is coordinating the emergency relief for Turkey and Syria from the Turkish border town of Kilis.
The affected area is nearly the size of Germany. Logistics are a major challenge, the extent of the destruction unimaginable. “There is also a great need in the supply of drinking water in sanitation facilities” Hochedez states.
In Syria, the situation is particularly precarious. Malteser international works in close cooperation with four partner organizations in northwestern Syria. Their activities focus mainly on the medical and psychological care for the people injured by the earthquake, as well as the local procurement of relief supplies in Syria. The supply of relief goods via the open border crossings of Bal al Hawa and Bab al Salam is also underway.
Malteser International currently supports six hospitals, one maternity clinic with children’s hospital as well as eight primary health care units in the regions of Idlib and North-Aleppo in northwestern Syria. The aid projects in the Syrian border region are coordinated from Turkey. Malteser International has been involved with the region through humanitarian work since 2012.
Other Order of Malta Associations have also mobilised and sent out relief teams such as the Lebanese Association and the Hungarian relief service. Numerous fundraising campaigns are underway.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that a combined total of more than 20 million people are affected by the earthquake in both countries.
Photo-Credit: Malteser International and HIHFAD Hand in Hand for Aid and Development