Update: Here’s How Things Look on the Ground in Türkiye in the Weeks Following the Earthquakes
In the early morning hours of February 6th, 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the southeastern region of Türkiye (formerly known as Turkey) near the Syrian border. The quake was followed by several aftershocks and another large 7.4-magnitude earthquake. The shockwaves destroyed or damaged several thousand buildings and killed tens of thousands of people and animals.
Much has happened since this time, and we’re here to give you an update on what GreaterGood and our non-profit partner, Greater Good Charities, have been doing to assist the people and animals hit hardest by the catastrophe.
The death toll in Türkiye and Syria is at 47,000, and many more people are wounded and displaced. Cats, dogs, and other pets who live in the area have also been killed, wounded, or left without access to food, water, and safe shelter. People and animals in the region are in desperate need of food and a sense of hope, and that’s exactly what we aim to provide for them.
Greater Good Charities is now on the ground in the Hatay province, bringing food to the people and animals in need there. Since February 16th, our teams have been offering comfort to the people of Türkiye by means of pizza and other food and refreshments. We’ve also been offering pet food to people with pets.
On the night of Monday, February 20th, another 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck the province, hitting the city of Antakya, where Greater Good Charities has two relief stations set up. No one on our team was hurt, but they report how dark it was outside and how they could hear buildings groaning and crashing around them.
About 90 aftershocks followed this quake, one of which measured 5.8 on the Richter Scale. At least six people were killed during this earthquake and its aftershocks, and about 300 were injured. Search and rescue efforts are ongoing but have been negatively impacted by the freezing winter temperatures.
In the aftermath of the quakes, no one is allowed to be near buildings. People live in tents out in the open without access to electricity, plumbing, and other basic necessities. They are, quite understandably, beginning to feel the weight of their situation. Luckily, Greater Good Charities was on site to provide immediate relief.
We’ve partnered with Siobhan’s Trust to bring a large truckload of frozen pizzas and a variety of other warm foods, to this decimated area of Türkiye to provide hot meals to those who need them.
Each day, Greater Good Charities has been serving over 5,000 hot meals to displaced Turkish people, Syrian refugees, and rescue workers in the Hatay Province. Meals are things like pizzas, rice and vegetables, rice and soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, and other warm and nourishing foods. The goal is to feed up to 10,000 people per day if needed.
For many, this project is so much more than just a warm pizza. The thought of getting to eat something new, something hot, has brought smiles to the faces of our customers, and they’ve brightened up with the opportunity to chat with neighbors, strangers, and volunteers. It’s a celebration of people helping each other and figuring out how to get by together.
One volunteer, Elias, even commented that a rescue worker had told him it was a great day, because he’d just been able to rescue a person from the rubble, and now he was getting to attend a pizza party. The rescue worker thanked the team profusely for providing meals and boosting morale for the people.
We’ve also committed to helping animals who have been displaced by the earthquakes. Starting on February 22nd, we’ve brought large amounts of cat and dog food to the area, and teams have walked around near (and even inside, in some cases) the crumbling buildings in search of animals who need food, on top of giving away pet food to people who come to our relief stations who have pets.
Some of the displaced animals, understandably, are hesitant to meet new people in the midst of their new terrifying reality. For these animals, we leave food nearby in the hopes that they’ll find it. Others, however, are friendly and happy to meet their rescuers. These animals receive lots of pets and attention from staff and volunteers.
Hospitalized victims of the earthquakes are beyond worried about their beloved pets. As local animal welfare organizations work to rescue as many of these pets as possible, we’ve been collaborating them to ensure they have enough pet food on hand to feed all the new residents.
Moving forward, Greater Good Charities plans to expand its work to more remote areas to serve those impacted by the earthquake. GreaterGood, as always, will be there to help fund the mission.
People and pets in Türkiye and Syria continue to need our support as they work hard to survive in the aftermath of these earthquakes. You can click below to help!Whizzco