From the Field

2023 Turkey and Syria earthquake: Facts, FAQs, how to help

On February 6, 2023, a powerful earthquake devastated vast areas of southern Turkey (officially the Republic of Türkiye) and war-torn northwest Syria, leaving millions of people in the region struggling to rebuild their lives. The situation in northwest Syria has worsened since the disaster, with affected communities enduring immense challenges: displacement, hunger and malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare, and fires caused by extreme summer heat. Millions of people still grappling with the aftermath of the destruction face a deteriorating humanitarian crisis.

“Half a year has passed since the devastating earthquake struck northwest Syria and southern Turkey, and Syrians are dealing with its aftereffects, on top of ongoing distress caused by conflict, an economic downturn, a cholera outbreak, and harsh weather conditions,” said Johan Mooij, World Vision’s Syria response director.

FAQs: What you need to know about the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake

Explore frequently asked questions about the Turkey–Syria earthquake, and learn how you can help.

Fast facts: 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake

    • On February 6, 2023, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Turkey near the Syrian border, with aftershocks numbering in the thousands.
    • In Syria, the earthquake exacerbated the effects of the ongoing war, deepening the crisis for approximately 3.7 million children.
    • According to the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the earthquake impacted an estimated 15.73 million people in Syria and Turkey.
    • In Turkey, 2.5 million children — many of them Syrian refugees — are at increased risk of poverty, child labor, or child marriage in the aftermath of the disaster.
    • Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees in the world, including some 3.6 million Syrians, according to UNHCR.
    • The disaster damaged the residences of at least 855,000 Syrians to varying degrees, with 265,000 people now needing dignified shelters after losing their homes, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
    • Catastrophic damage to agricultural infrastructure in 11 provinces in Turkey is disrupting essential food production and livelihoods for rural people.


Map of Turkey and Syria earthquake location in red and the locations of the aftershocks in orange.
A USGS map of the February 6, 2023, earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria shows the earthquake in red. Subsequent aftershocks are marked in orange. The size of the circular marker indicates the intensity of the shock. (2023 graphic courtesy of USGS)

How many people were affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria?

At least 15.73 million people in Turkey and Syria have been impacted by the disaster, with over 55,000 dead and nearly 130,000 injured. Millions have been displaced from their homes.


How has the earthquake impacted survivors?

Millions of people in Turkey and Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian support:

  • Cities across the region suffered widespread destruction, with nearly 50,000 buildings — including apartment buildings, schools, and hospitals — now in ruins or too damaged to enter.
  • People are struggling to access essential healthcare in northwest Syria, with nearly one-third of the 601 health centers non-functioning and another 70 having been damaged, according to OCHA.
  • The loss of safe housing and access to school is making children more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and family separation.
  • The situation in Syria is worsening as many families continue to live in temporary shelters. Approximately 265,000 people still need proper housing since their homes were destroyed, according to Mooij.
  • The crisis is further intensified by scorching summer heat, with temperatures exceeding 104 degrees Fahrenheit. This has led to devastating fires, with over 40 incidents triggered by soaring temperatures between July 15 and 17. In 2023, more than 180 fire incidents have been reported, resulting in five deaths and damage to more than 220 tents.


Where did the February 6, 2023, earthquake strike?

The powerful earthquake struck near the cities of Nurdağı and Gaziantep in Gaziantep Province, just outside the regional capital, which hosts millions of Syrian refugees.

  • In Turkey: The disaster compounded the already dire situation in the area, beset by the 12-year Syria conflict and refugee crisis. Eleven Turkish provinces, including Adana, Gaziantep, Kahramanmaras, and Sanliurfa, were hit, affecting nongovernmental organizations supporting Syrians through cross-border humanitarian operations.
  • In Syria: The quake severely impacted the cities of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama, and Idlib, causing significant damage and resulting in the collapse of numerous buildings and the destruction of water systems.


A boy walks on rubble toward a group of rescuers in northwest Syria. The jaw of an earthmover is seen on the right.

What risks do children face in the aftermath of the earthquake?

Millions of children in Syria and Turkey are facing urgent humanitarian needs. Areas of concern include:

  • At least 2.5 million children in Turkey (including many Syrian refugees) and 3.7 million children in Syria need continued humanitarian assistance, according to UNICEF.
  • The widespread damage to water systems in the region has placed millions of children at risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and Hepatitis A, necessitating urgent action to prevent outbreaks.
  • In Syria, children face an increased need for mental health support. Even before the earthquake, many children in areas impacted by conflict already showed signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and alarming suicidal thoughts.


A Syrian boy with short brown hair sits by a row of white tents after earthquake.
Muhammad*, a 10-year-old Syrian boy, is among the millions of children affected by the devastating earthquake that rocked northwest Syria and southeast Turkey in early February 2023. He and his family live in a temporary shelter, crammed into one of the white tents that dot the ruin-strewn landscape in northwest Syria. He hopes to return to school and longs to fill his days with homework again. “I have always been the first in my class since grade one,” he said. “I [miss] my friends, my teachers, and my school.” *Name changed for protection. (©2023 World Vision)

How and where is World Vision responding to the disaster in Turkey and Syria?

To maximize our impact, we’re partnering with 15 local organizations. Our emergency response priorities include helping support affected people with access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) resources, healthcare, shelter, and protection and care for vulnerable children. Our current response areas include Aleppo, Afrin, Azaz, and Idlib in northern Syria, as well as Gaziantep and Sanliurfa in Turkey.

“Despite the bleak circumstances, the resilience of the people and the tireless work of World Vision and its partners offer a beacon of hope. However, the need for international assistance and attention remains critical. As we observe the half-year anniversary of the earthquake, we implore individuals, businesses, governments, and international bodies to rally in support of the victims of this crisis, to help them rebuild and recover,” says Mooij.


A Syrian doctor wearing protective gear cares for a male patient inside a healthcare tent after the earthquake. He uses a cart of medical supplies to write on.
Despite Syria’s struggling health infrastructure, dedicated doctors like Dr. Mujahid* have remained supportive and committed to their patients during these difficult times. As a pediatrician working with disease surveillance supported by World Vision, Dr. Mujahid continues caring for people even after the devastating loss of his relatives, including the death of a family member’s child who had been missing during the earthquake. He has faced challenges like a lack of medical equipment, staff shortages, and power outages. “I had feelings of sadness and helplessness when I witnessed the severe injuries, numerous deaths, and people trapped under the rubble. But all of this did not prevent me from fulfilling my duty,” he says. *Name changed to protect identity (©2023 World Vision)

How many people has World Vision helped since the earthquake hit Turkey and Syria?

In the first 100 days of our response, we helped support over 603,300 people with life-saving essentials, including food, heaters and fuel, hygiene kits, cash assistance, and more.


A masked man sits at a desk and writes in a room full of supplies for Turkey-Syria. earthquake survivors.
Before the earthquake, hospitals in Syria were already stretched to capacity. Now, tens of thousands are injured across the region, outpacing the healthcare system’s ability to respond. World Vision equipped health facilities in northwest Syria with fuel to help them continue providing urgent medical care. (©2023 World Vision)

How is World Vision supporting recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Turkey and Syria?

In the first 30 days of the urgent response, we provided life-saving aid for severely impacted children and families in both countries. We’ve been steadfast in our commitment to helping affected communities rebuild and move forward, we are focusing on the following:

In Turkey: We’re completing the delivery of 175 temporary shelters to displaced families in a camp in Hatay Province. Additionally, World Vision is piloting a transformative project, Lift in Fullness Together (LIFT), in three provinces, which prioritizes the well-being and protection of earthquake-affected children, adolescents, and caregivers through tailored services and psychosocial support.

In Syria: World Vision has proposed 10 projects through OCHA, Aid Fund for North Syria (AFNS), and the World Food Programme, including education and protection services in northwest Syria and cash assistance for food aid for people living in informal settlements. These initiatives address critical needs while supporting ongoing recovery efforts in affected communities.


Turkey-Syria earthquake survivors stand in front of a row of white emergency tents erected along a park walkway in Turkey.
Tents are pitched in a park in Turkey for people displaced by the Feb. 6 earthquake that devastated the area along the Turkey–Syria border. (©2023 World Vision)

How long has World Vision worked in the Middle East?

For nearly 40 years, World Vision has served the most vulnerable communities in the Middle East. We’re dedicated to improving the lives of children, families, and communities through long-term sustainable development and responding to disasters.

World Vision swiftly supported Syrian families who fled to Lebanon in 2011. Since then, our work has expanded to other countries hosting Syrian refugees and into Syria. Children and their long-term needs are always our first priority.

In 2022, we provided life-saving aid to more than 1.9 million people in Syria, 45% of whom were children. We did this through our health, child protection, education, nutrition, psychosocial support, livelihoods, and WASH programming.

Since the start of the Syrian refugee crisis, we’ve helped more than 7.5 million children and their families in the region. World Vision continues to aid children and families in Syria, Jordan, and Turkey, all of whom have suffered from ongoing conflict and the resulting humanitarian crisis.


How can I help disaster survivors today?

You can help World Vision continue to respond to disasters like this earthquake around the world.

  • Please give today to help vulnerable children and families suffering in the aftermath of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
  • Pray: Join us in praying for all those affected by this tragedy.

Almighty Father, we ask for Your mercy and guidance for survivors who have lost loved ones, homes, and communities. We pray for the World Vision staff and partners who are working to bring them help and resources. Please grant these teams discernment and wisdom so they can steward resources effectively and swiftly on behalf of those in desperate need. Please keep displaced children and adults safe from scorching temperatures and other hazards, especially girls and women who are more vulnerable to exploitation and violence. Give all those affected patience, peace, and hope that their lives and livelihoods will be restored.


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