Last Monday’s earthquake in Turkiye and Syria has resulted in a massive loss of life and damage.

In parts of Syria where the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) operates, agencies have mobilized rapidly to assist as hundreds of buildings were destroyed or partially damaged in 17 sub-districts and critical water, sanitation, health and transportation infrastructure were impacted. People are in fear and shock, says press release issued by AKDN on February 13.

The Aga Khan Agency for Habitat (AKAH) – AKDN’s emergency response arm – has been working closely with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to assess and respond to the crisis.  From the onset, in coordination with local authorities, AKAH’s trained emergency response teams have supported search and rescue operations; and helped evacuate and relocate people to safer areas.

These teams are also working with engineers to assess the impact to homes and helping families to identify living alternatives. Food and emergency supplies, including blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits, have been distributed to the displaced.

The health system has been supporting people with first aid and tertiary care but is in a state of depleting capacity with the passage of time.  The Aga Khan Health Services have been conducting telemedicine checks for households that have been temporarily relocated, to assess potential health needs and the impact of psycho-social trauma.  Medical teams are following up with affected community members to provide counselling and support.

The Aga Khan Medical Center in Salamieh began operations on February 12 with targeted support programs for those who have been displaced or affected by the quake.

While providing urgent humanitarian relief, AKDN is also assessing the needs and requirements to transition from emergency response to early recovery and eventual rehabilitation efforts.  It is working with local and international partners on a joint appeal for resources to respond to the situation.

AKAH works closely with Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), AKDN’s international crisis response and disaster risk management agency.