Humanitarian efforts begin after 7.8 earthquake strikes Turkey and Syria

Monday, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Southern Turkey and Northern Syria.

The aftermath is devastating, with hundreds of toppled buildings.

Thousands of people are injured, and as of Monday morning, more than 3,400 people have been reported dead.

President Joe Biden has authorized an “immediate U.S. response.”

Multiple aftershocks have been felt across the region for hours, including an earthquake measuring 7.5.

“I think there’s an awful lot of worry about what the next 24 hours could bring,” said Mark Smith, Vice President of Humanitarian & Emergency Affairs for World Vision.

World Vision is an organization focused on emergency response and long-term development Smith says for the last nine years they’ve had a team in Syria, providing aid to refugees.

He says a large portion of their crews is in the affected area.

“In many ways, the coordination center for humanitarian efforts into Northern Syria is based out of Gaziantep, which is pretty much the epicenter of the earthquake,” said Smith.

Smith says all their team members are accounted for, and they are checking on all their volunteers.

“Most of our staff in the affected area not going back into their house, they are afraid to go back into their homes, and so they are using their cars to stay warm in the winter,” said Smith.

The organization has declared this a category three response and is hoping to raise $10 million to support its efforts.

“Our assessments in terms of those four critical areas that I mentioned around water, sanitation, health protection, and shelter is going to begin tomorrow,” said Smith.

Authorities say this earthquake is one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years.

“We will be prepared to send staff in absolutely, waiting for the request from our Syria team and our Turkey team to say yes,” said Smith.

If you would like to donate to World Vision below is their information.

Türkiye and Syria Emergency Response | World Vision