After the terrible earthquake at the start of the week, the disastrous situation in Syria and Turkey continues to worsen, as the number of confirmed dead keeps rising. Total fatalities are currently at over 11,500 with more than 45,000 wounded*.
The Turkish authority for managing emergencies and natural disasters, AFAD, has stated that over 7,108 deaths have been recorded in the provinces of Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Diyarbakir, Adana, Adiyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya and Elazig, with 40,910 wounded. In Syria, in the zones under the control of Damascus, deaths so far have totaled over 1,250 with more than 2,054 people reported as wounded. These figures are from the provinces, or part of the provinces, of Aleppo, Hama, Latakia and Tartus and the parts of Idlib held by government forces*.
The fragmented news that has arrived so far from the Slow Food network in the earthquake-hit areas has been devastating, but nonetheless testifies to the great strength of solidarity.
The Turkish network coordinator has told us that in almost all the affected areas, shipments of food aid and basic necessities, as well as meal-preparation systems, are being organized. In the region of Iskenderun, for example, a support system has been established that currently makes it possible to serve three meals a day to the evacuees. Reinforcements will arrive soon for the teams of volunteers and essential equipment, like generators. In the Iskenderun Öztiryakiler region, a supply truck with basics is about to arrive. Everyone who has not been impacted by the earthquake is trying to contribute in any way they can: The chef Mihta Yıldırımtaş has put together a team of MasterChef participants, while at the Mustafa Kemal University in Antakya the university canteen’s chef is organizing a meal-preparation system. The Metro chain of supermarkets is providing food and other items to almost all the areas, while in the Hatay Expo zone a truck is arriving from TransAnatolia, and a reception system is being put in place.
There are still some areas that are hard to access, which is making it hard to bring in humanitarian aid. In the Kahramanmaras Girls’ Dormitory in Kahramanmaras, they are planning to prepare over 20,000 meals in the next days, but need more workers and food. Red Crescent, with the support of Cappadocia University, is leading operations in the region of Elbistan. They need to prepare 30,000 meals a day for a population of over 100,000. Discussions are underway with Sardunya Catering for extra support as currently just 18 people are coordinating operations.
Help continues to arrive from around the world. Dozens of teams of rescuers are converging on the affected areas in a race against time to save anyone still trapped alive in the rubble. The tragedy within the tragedy is that the on-going conflicts in the area, and diverging interests, have not paused, meaning that for many of the victims their suffering is even greater.
Solidarity must never stop. Humanitarian aid must be able to reach anyone who needs it, wherever they are.
If you would like to help those afflicted by the earthquake in Turkey, the local Slow Food network has recommended donating here
“For Adıyaman, we are collaborating with the Turkish Education Association (TED) and collecting donations in their account. In the description of donations it should be mentioned: representative of TED Kayseri,” explains the Turkish coordinator.
*Data updated at 7 p.m. Feb. 8, 2023