Humanitarian situation in Syria and Türkiye still critical

14 Apr 2023 by The Water Diplomat

According to ReliefWeb, almost two months after the devastating earthquakes that struck in Syria and Türkiye, the death toll from the earthquakes has now surpassed 50,000 people. In addition, it is estimated that more than 5.9 million people have been displaced. The earthquakes, which measured, 7.5 and 7.8 on the Richter scale, destroyed homes and properties, but also critical infrastructure such as water supply infrastructure.  The World Bank has estimated the total cost of the direct physical damage from the earthquakes at US $ 34.2 billion, while the costs of reconstruction and recovery will be much higher.      

In northwest Syria, in the governorates of Idlib and Aleppo, the earthquakes compounded an already desperate humanitarian situation. The 180,000 people that have been displaced by the earthquakes add to the 2.8 million people already living in difficult and precarious circumstances after being displaced repeatedly during 12 years of war. Humanitarian organisations are highlighting the risks of a public health crisis. The need for health care support is reported to be critical, including the need for cholera treatment and clean water.     

In Türkiye, more than three million people have been forced to leave their homes, of which more than 1.5 million are now living in tent towns. The earthquakes have impacted 11 provinces, hosting 16 per cent of people in the country. Some of the quake-hit areas of Türkiye were already hosting millions of Syrian refugees in a very vulnerable situation and living in precarious shelters.

Humanitarian WaSH organisations are working with local authorities to ensure continued water supplies for internally displaced populations as well as to provide hygiene kits.