How REALTORS® can Help the Long Road to Recovery in Türkiye and Syria

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed large areas of central Türkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and northwest Syria. Weeks later, the number of casualties continues to rise.

So far, it’s estimated more than 50,000 people have lost their lives, while hundreds of thousands of individuals remain injured or unaccounted for. The amount of destruction in both countries is immense and the humanitarian needs for the affected families are massive. As both countries mourn their losses, the search and rescue operations on the ground have shifted to clean up and recovery.

Quick facts:

  • More than 50,000 people have lost their lives.
  • In Türkiye, 2.2 million families have been displaced and left homeless.
  • In northwest Syria, 4 million people were already in need of humanitarian aid.
  • It was one of the strongest earthquakes to hit the region in 100 years.
  • Relief efforts will require sustained response for months to come. CREA continues to raise funds in support of the Canadian Red Cross’ Earthquake in Türkiye & Syria Appeal.

The area of Türkiye that was impacted by the earthquakes was close to the border of Syria and hosted more than 3.6 million Syrian refugees over the past decade. The earthquakes made an already high-need area more vulnerable. The humanitarian aid available in the region is not enough to cover the basic needs of everyone impacted. While it’s unclear just how many people were impacted, it’s estimated that 14 million people lived in the region.

What’s happening now?

People have lost their families, homes, schools, places of work, parks, entire neighbourhoods, hospitals, and everything they called home. With many displaced in the wintry weather, some have migrated to other regions to find shelter with relatives, while others live in temporary shelters set up in the limited buildings that are still standing.

The Turkish government and international non-governmental organizations are continuing to provide support however more resources are needed. Similarly in Syria, although aid is slowly trickling into the affected areas, the scale of response is far from matching the needs on the ground. According to Dr. Mike Ryan, emergencies chief with the World Health Organization, the impacts of these earthquakes will require sustained response for months to come, especially for those who were already in need of humanitarian aid.

The affected communities have a long road ahead to get their lives back and are in need of long-term humanitarian assistance such as:

  • mental health and psychosocial support services for children, adults, and seniors;
  • provision of medical, consumables and supplies to health facilities;
  • physical rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, especially with the spike of injured people post-earthquake;
  • provision of safe and clean water for drinking and washing; and
  • cash assistance for shelter and basic needs.

It’s especially critical to help support the most vulnerable, such as children, elderly people, and women-led households.

“It is through the generosity of donors like the REALTOR® community that we can come together to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance to those in need during this challenging time,” says Keely Wallace, Associate Director, Community Engagement, at the Canadian Red Cross. “No contribution is too small, and every donation can make a profound difference, bringing hope to those who have been impacted by this tragedy.”

What can you do to help?

To help those impacted, REALTORS® and friends are encouraged to make tax-receiptable donations using this REALTORS Care® fundraising page. Your donations will help provide safe shelter, and access to food, clean water, hygiene supplies and other supports for those impacted.

CREA continues to raise funds in support of the Canadian Red Cross’ Earthquake in Türkiye & Syria Appeal.

“It’s hard to imagine what the people of Türkiye and Syria are going through,” says REALTOR® Darcy McLeod, a REALTOR® based in Maple Ridge, CREA’s Regional Director for British Columbia, and Yukon on CREA’s Board of Directors, and Chair of CREA’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee. “CREA is proud to provide REALTORS® across Canada with a way to band together and show our support as the affected communities look to recover and rebuild after this tragedy.”

Sana Amjad, CREA’s Senior Policy Advisor, is a research driven economist and public policy leader with more than 12 years of experience in public service and humanitarian aid work. As a policy lead Sana conducts projects based on evidence-based assessments, surveys, public consultations, cost benefit analysis and impact evaluations. Being proficient in quantitative data analysis, she utilizes data informed techniques to provide recommendations that could help improve housing in Canada. Sana is strong education professional with a M.A. in Economics and currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Community Health Science with a focus on Housing Policy.

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