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Earthquake in Syria Deepens Trauma for Women

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It’s been one week since two deadly earthquakes killed at least 36,000 people across Türkiye and Syria.

Our partner, Women Now for Development (WND) tells us humanitarian aid is still not reaching war-torn regions of Northwest Syria. As many as 5.3 million people in Syria have been left homeless by this disaster, according to the UN, many sleeping in subzero temperatures without food or medical attention. 

We’ve been working with our partner based in Aleppo, WND, since 2020 helping Syrian women to rebuild their lives. We are in constant touch with our colleagues who report that thankfully their team members are all accounted for and safe. Tragically though, many have lost family members as well as their homes and are seeking safe shelter.

Our colleagues at WND and the women we serve in that region have already been displaced several times during the war and are mentally devastated by this latest trauma. Our priority is to help them address their most urgent needs, including covering evacuation and relocation costs, emergency cash assistance and psychosocial support.  

Earthquakes know no borders – we cannot deprive the Syrian people of their right to humanitarian aid. The international community must step up to allow aid to reach Syria through all border crossings and this aid must address the unique needs of women who, as caregivers, shoulder the highest burden of any crisis. 

"It’s been only a very short period of time since our children began to feel settled in the homes to which we fled after the recent forced displacement we’ve gone through late 2019. But their feelings of fear and terror returned after the massive earthquake, and the scenes of victims and debris again. My child, who is not yet six years old, said to me yesterday: 'Get me out of here, I feel my heart will explode with fear.'"

-Women Now for Development Staff Member

Working with women in conflict-affected countries for 30 years, we know that natural disasters only worsen the situation for people already facing unimaginable challenges. It is women—already deeply socially and economically marginalised—who have the hardest time recovering and rebuilding their lives in the wake of a crisis. 

We will continue to provide updates as we know more about this quickly evolving situation so that our global community can best support the women we serve in Syria.  

Learn more about our work in Syria.