United in the dignity of our diversity, the members of the Religions for Peace global movement express our sincere condolences for the thousands of lives lost in the massive earthquakes in the Republic of Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic and send our prayers and love to all those who are suffering from this natural disaster.
In the morning of 6 February, a massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit the southern part of Türkiye and Syria, immediately killing more than 3,000 people. Just hours later, a 7.5 magnitude earthquake hit the two countries, with strong tremors felt as far away as Egypt, Israel, and especially northern Syria. Officials have declared the 7.8 and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes – and the many aftershocks – the sixth most deadly natural disaster this century, following the 2005 tremor that killed at least 73,000 in Pakistan.
One week after the earthquakes, hopes of finding many more survivors in the rubble are quickly fading, as the combined death toll in Türkiye and neighbouring Syria has risen above 37,000. Rescuers on the ground confirm that this number will only keep increasing, especially since the search for survivors continues to be impeded by sub-zero temperature and persistent aftershocks.
For our brothers and sisters in Türkiye and Syria, this natural disaster came at a critical time of fragility and vulnerability. The compounding crises of ongoing violent conflict in the region, COVID-19 and other health emergencies, economic decline, climate change, and forced mass displacement (to name a few) have already taken an unbearable toll on the lives and well-being of millions in the two countries. In Syria, around 4 million people had already been displaced by nearly 12 years of civil war, and thousands more were crushed to death in buildings that were already destroyed or weakened by bombardment. Moreover, aid delivery has been hampered by the availability of only a single border crossing for United Nations aid delivery.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that survivors of the devastating earthquakes face the threat of a “secondary disaster” if aid does not reach them soon.
At the heart of Religions for Peace is a commitment to advance the cooperation of the world’s religious communities to ensure that no one is left behind. Through our flagship Multi-Religious Humanitarian Fund (MRHF), which is currently in its third phase of implementation, we have supported 37 interfaith initiatives that have reached over 14 million people, including millions of refugees and internally displaced peoples (IDPs) in 30 countries across five regions. We invite you to click here to read the most recent stories of how the Fund has advanced multireligious responses where the needs of the most vulnerable are greatest.
Religions for Peace stands in solidarity with all who have been affected by the massive earthquakes and ongoing aftershocks. As Religions for Peace grieves for our brothers and sisters whose lives were lost during the earthquakes, we appeal to your hearts and ask you to help us save lives in Türkiye and Syria by making a generous gift to the Multi-Religious Humanitarian Fund now.