Türkiye-Syria Earthquake: ADRA Continues Restoration Efforts One Year After

SILVER SPRING, MD (February 5, 2024) – The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is still executing rehabilitation efforts to assist vulnerable populations affected by the powerful earthquake that devastated southern Türkiye and northern Syria last year on February 6, 2023. The massive earthquake killed about 55,000 people, injured almost 130,000, destroyed 300,000 buildings, and displaced millions of families.

Within hours of the catastrophic earthquake, ADRA’s country office in Syria launched the first response activities with the help of Adventist Church volunteers, as well as trusted partners. In the early aftermath, emergency relief included shelter, blankets, meals, food parcels, and hygiene supplies to improve sanitation at temporary housing facilities, and the restoration of water facilities. At ground zero in Türkiye, the humanitarian organization supplied critical tools and metal-cutting equipment for rescue operations and collaborated with the Adventist church and local agencies to deliver essential items including, warm clothing, water-proof tents, and gas stoves to aid the most affected neighborhoods.

“ADRA staff were quick to respond, and they have remained active in impacted regions. Assistance has evolved from emergency aid to long-term rehabilitation, including the rehabilitation of school buildings and water systems. Please continue to keep all the impacted families, as well as the staff who continue to be pivotal to recovery efforts, in your prayers,” says Kelly Dowling, emergency response program manager for ADRA International.

ADRA’s long-term rebuilding efforts focus mainly on children’s educational programs and the repair of school facilities.

“The education sector has been severely impacted, with a lot of kids out of school and many school buildings damaged,” says Nagi Khalil, country director for ADRA Syria. “ADRA is doing remedial classes and helping to repair schools that have been impaired.”

The Yousef Karajeh School in Syria is a prominent example of ADRA’s assistance to schools. ADRA completed the reconstruction of the Yousef Karajeh School in October 2023, benefiting 1,125 students. Amina*, 9, explains how the disaster affected students.

“I had to leave my school to attend the Abdalhalim Zamzam school because Yousef Karajeh had a crack. There was a significant disruption in our education while the Ministry determined where everyone would go. This prevented us from completing the formal curriculum as other students, causing a gap in our studies. Our teachers tried to compensate through WhatsApp groups, but this was ineffective due to the poor internet connection,” Anima noted. “We took the final exam at the alternate school, but we hadn’t prepared enough. After ADRA finished, we returned to the school, and it was much better than before in all aspects – the building, and the teaching! More students now want to come to Yousef Karajeh school and are coming to register!”

ADRA’s school projects include:

  • Special classes to enable students who missed school to catch up on their studies.
  • Structural repairs to damaged buildings.
  • Cosmetic repairs and additions.
  • Rehabilitation of sewage and water networks, or electrical work.
  • Supplying school furniture such as desks, chairs, and tables.

ADRA also tackles food insecurity by giving multipurpose cash vouchers to disadvantaged households. This allows people to buy immediate necessities while also benefiting local marketplaces and businesses.

Additionally, ADRA provides economic assistance to areas devastated by the disaster where households rely on livestock and commercial sectors, and it continues to restore water pumps and sewage infrastructure to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation in devastated regions.

“We want to thank all our donors and partners for their quick response to the earthquake,” says Nagi Khalil, country director for ADRA Syria. “We were overwhelmed by the demand for assistance during the disaster and continue to experience a high demand to support those in need.”

Before the 2023 earthquake disaster response, ADRA had already been serving  Syrian communities and surrounding regions for over a decade, offering humanitarian relief projects such as education initiatives, shelter, and health care for refugee families.

Visit https://adra.org/angels, become an ADRA angel this year, and donate to ADRA’s global humanitarian mission for relief efforts in Syria and other worldwide crises.

* The student’s real name was changed to Amina following our child safeguarding policies.

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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