EARTHQUAKE: Oxfam and partners aim to reach nearly 2 million affected people in Turkiye and Syria

PRESS RELEASE – 13 February 2023

Oxfam, together with our partners in Turkiye (Turkey) and Syria, is working to reach nearly 2 million people – 10 percent of the population affected by the quake – with aid and support so that they can rebuild their lives.  

Meryem Aslan, Oxfam Spokeswoman in Turkiye said, “People are living in cars, mosques, in tents or huddling around fires in freezing conditions. Emergency shelters are overwhelmed and over-crowded. Many people do not want to stay in the area with hundreds of thousands having been evacuated out of the region.”

In Turkiye, Oxfam KEDV is working closely with dozens of grassroot women-led organisations and cooperatives to reach up to 1.5 million people over the first three years. Our teams have already provided food, shelter, blankets and psychological support to some of most affected areas including Gaziantep, Hatay and Mardin.

“Our teams are experienced, having responded to the 1999 earthquake, but we are facing new hurdles getting aid to those who need it.  We are dealing with destroyed roads, nearly 300 aftershocks and an unprecedented scale of devastation. The sheer number of fatalities is heart-breaking. Topping the list of items needed are body bags to bury the dead. In some areas, communication is also limited which is hampering aid distribution,” added Aslan. 

The earthquake has impacted over 13 million people in Turkiye - one in every six people. Over 12,000 buildings have been destroyed and many more are threatening to crumble. 

Ali, a father of four from Gaziantep, told us, "We were shaking and we were so scared. I thought this was my last day. When I looked at the walls, I felt like they were moving towards me."

He added, "It was such a bitter day. I hope we never experience this ever again." 

In Hatay, a city affected by the earthquake, only three hospitals remain standing. It is imagined that the earthquake response will take a year in Turkiye, but the after-effects will be felt for many more years to come.

In Syria, the earthquake has caused over 3500 deaths with many more injured. 

Abdelkader Dabbagh, Aleppo Area Manager for Oxfam in Syria said, “The earthquake has shattered an already conflict-torn country. People do not have a roof over their heads and are stuck in freezing temperatures with no idea where they could get their next meal. Our team is working with other humanitarian organisations to get clean drinking water and hygiene packs to survivors.”

We already started providing safe drinking water to people in Aleppo. We have also supported safety checks to 220 buildings and begun fixing water taps and toilets for over 1000 of the most impacted people. Over the next six months, Oxfam aims to reach more than 300,000 survivors.

Moutaz Adham, Oxfam in Syria Country Director, said, “This is nothing new for Syrians who have lived and are still living the horrors of over twelve years of conflict. To make matters worse, we are still facing an uphill battle due to years of chronic underfunding, skyrocketing inflation, and scarce supplies of fuel.”

Oxfam calls on the international community to meet the urgent needs of those affected by the earthquake in Turkiye and Syria, and to facilitate aid delivery to both countries along with a longer-term plan to support the survivors in the recovery efforts.

Notes to editors

Spokespeople are available for interview in Turkiye and Syria. 

B-roll and images are available upon request.

Oxfam KEDV was founded in 1986 and became an Oxfam affiliate in 2019. Previous to the earthquake, Oxfam KEDV was working with 78 grassroot women organisations and cooperatives in the affected areas and 600 throughout Turkey. We will work with these partners in our humanitarian response to the earthquake. 

Oxfam KEDV is also a member to the National Disaster Response Platform, a network formed in 2020 representing 27 national civil CSOs, which coordinates disaster and emergency responses in Turkiye. All NGOs registered with this platform must register with the Acik Acik Association which is responsible for ensuring the transparency and accountability of NGOS. 

In Syria, Oxfam has been on the scene since 2013. We get clean water to people affected by the conflict. We distributed cash and food. We also work with people to rebuild their lives including supporting farmers to start farming again through trainings and distribution of seeds and animal fodder as well as repairing irrigation systems.


Contact Information

Clare Cronin External Communications Manager Email:   Mobile 353+87+1952551

Alice Dawson Lyons | Head of Communications and Campaigns | Oxfam Ireland Email: Mobile: +353 (0) 83 198 1869

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Press Release: Oxfam and partners mounting response in Turkiye and Syria

PRESS RELEASE – 6 February 2023

EARTHQUAKE: Oxfam and partners mounting response in Turkiye and Syria amidst destruction of life and property

Oxfam teams in Turkiye and Syria are working with partners to urgently assess the fastest, most effective response to help affected people in the aftermath of Monday’s devastating earthquake – the biggest in Turkiye since 1938.

An Oxfam colleague in Turkiye – a mountaineer – travelled today into south-west Turkey, part of an official search-and-rescue mission mounted by Turkish authorities who called on civilian mountaineers to help.

Meryem Aslan, Oxfam spokesperson in Ankara, said: “The scale of destruction is vast. Following two big earthquakes and over 60 aftershocks, people are still in shock and fear, they don't even have time to mourn the lost ones."

She managed to reach family and friends in affected areas by phone – thankful they were alive and well – but many buildings and homes are now rubble, she said.

Oxfam KEDV, the Oxfam affiliate in Turkiye, has partnerships with around 80 women’s cooperatives in ten Turkish provinces most affected by the quake and is currently assessing response plans with them given the scale of devastation. An Oxfam team is travelling to affected areas tomorrow (Tuesday) to conduct assessments, as part of the official National Disaster Response Platform.

"It is a double tragedy for survivors having to cope too with the cold. It is horrifying to contemplate how people will even be able to cope, given that some areas are even now in snow,” said Aslan.

"Reaching survivors will be extremely challenging with many roads and highways damaged or blocked, and over vast distances. Even as Turkiye has a lot of expertise in dealing with the aftermath of earthquakes, the scale of this one is daunting. The death toll is growing. The number of survivors who will be left with absolutely nothing due to the damage is likely to be huge”, she said.

“Oxfam, together with partners, is gathering urgent information to assess the scale of devastation and what people most urgently need,” Aslan said. “Typically, Oxfam and partners would look to provide protection, water and sanitation, shelter and food support and in the longer-term rehabilitation and reconstruction. We are now assessing the type of immediate and longer-term support that is needed.

“We know that all countries affected by this awful earthquake, and the survivors of it, will need a lot of help and support – not only in the immediate short-term, but in the days and weeks and months ahead.”

In Syria, the cities of Aleppo, Latakia, Hama and Idlib have been badly hit by both the earthquake and continuous, severe aftershocks that have driven people into wintery streets fearing further collapses of buildings. Dozens of buildings have been badly damaged across Aleppo and 46 are reported to have collapsed. As nightly temperatures are expected to drop to zero degrees Celsius, shelter, food, water, fuel and medical care for those who have been injured are desperately needed.

For Syria, this earthquake hits at a time when the humanitarian need in the country is at its highest.

Over 15 million are in desperate need humanitarian assistance and support.
Oxfam Ireland is appealing to the public to support their Turkey/Syria Earthquake Appeal, donating online at


Oxfam has spokespeople available on the ground.
For more details and to arrange interviews, contact / 083 198 1869

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East Africa Hunger Crisis Update | Your Support In 2022

Safia cooking rice and potatoes.
Safia cooking rice and potatoes. Safia is helped by the Cash Transfer Programme and NFI (Non Food Item) distribution in Badana, Kenya. Photo: Loliwe Phiri/Oxfam

27.6 million people are suffering from food insecurity

Did you know that when you give a gift to one household – it is shared. That is the strength of community in East Africa. One family will not eat knowing a neighbour is hungry. Neighbours are invited to the table to share the meal.

Donors like you, are part of that community. You provide the rice and potatoes cooked by Safia (below) to enable a meal to be shared with her family and neighbours. 

Safia adding purification treatment to bucket of water.
Safia adding purification treatment to bucket of water. Safia is helped by the Cash Transfer Programme and NFI (Non Food Item) distribution in Badana, Kenya. Photo: Loliwe Phiri/Oxfam

Safia asked Oxfam to express her gratitude to donors like you: “What makes me happy is seeing my kids satisfied and having no problems.” Thanks to your support and kindness, Oxfam can work immediately to save lives, while also building resilience for the future.

In Badana, Kenya, hunger is a familiar feeling for Safia. The worst drought to hit the area in more than 40 years has devastated her livelihood; her lifestock. The death of her goats has left her struggling to feed herself and her family.

Thanks to Oxfam supporters like you, families like Safia’s are receiving essential non-food items (like water purifying tablets, hygiene items and jerry can’s for water storage) alongside cash transfers.

 Safia receives €68/£59 per month which enables her to buy food in local markets, keeping her family safe from malnutrition, and also helps her to pay school fees so she can keep her children in education. This aid not only helps people to survive but gives them an opportunity to build resilience for the future!

“We are surviving on that money to escape death from hunger. It’s our only hope” Every day, people in East Africa, like Safia, are suffering the calamitous effects of climate change. Despite being responsible for less than 0.05% of global carbon emissions, they are bearing the brunt of the damage. Over the last decade they have been repeatedly stuck by climate-related shocks, and as they build on the devastation of each other – recovering becomes more and more difficult.

We hope now, thanks to a huge win at COP27, that when a similar emergency hits, finance will be available at the beginning of the crisis. This will enable faster responses – which in turn will save lives, protect dignity and provide climate justice for the proud people of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. They will no longer be dependent on assistance. Instead, they will receive their due compensation from the climate ‘Loss and Damage’ fund.

COP27 And its Effect on global equality

After three decades of campaigning work from developing countries, NGOs, activists, and grassroots movements the world over, a dedicated fund will be created to provide justice for communities on the frontline of the climate crisis. This was confirmed during COP27.

This was a huge win for climate justice advocates everywhere. Oxfam has been working to amplify local voices, campaigners and our supporters like you.

This dedicated finance facility will help to rebalance the scales and provide justice to frontline communities suffering from loss and damage to their homelands.

Leaders in disaster preparedness & prevention

Oxfam works with local grassroots organisations and committees to ensure resilience to climate shocks are available where needed. Just one example is detailed below.

Women’s group members display mangrove saplings they’ve raised in their nursery.
Women’s group members display mangrove saplings they’ve raised in their nursery. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam

Reforesting the ocean

There is little between the town of Dolores in the Philippines, and the full force of the typhoons that sweep in from the Pacific—storms that are increasing in frequency and intensity.

However, the women of the Dolores community are making the most of what they have available to tackle natural disaster. Two hundred meters from shore is a mangrove forest—a tangle of low trees that are perfectly adapted to salt water and tides—which buffers the coastal communities from destructive waves and winds.

In the past, people harvested the mangroves to make fires and fences, but now the women are working to protect and restore them. 

Women’s group members show Oxfam’s Jenny Gacutno how to plant a mangrove sapling.
Women’s group members show Oxfam’s Jenny Gacutno how to plant a mangrove sapling. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam

In 2021, Oxfam and partner SIKAT (the Center for the Development of Indigenous Science and Technology) encouraged this group of female leaders to form a savings group and become active in disaster management. Oxfam have also provided training to help them take their rightful place as decision makers in their community, and together we are achieving success with the mangrove project.

This community has planted thousands of mangrove saplings, enlisting their communities and local authorities to lend a hand, and they could not be more enthusiastic about the results.

Marianne Penido is a member of a women’s group that is restoring a mangrove forest.
Marianne Penido is a member of a women’s group that is restoring a mangrove forest. Photo: Elizabeth Stevens/Oxfam
The women in this community still have many other challenges to contend with, but it’s clear they treasure their time together. “I used to stay at home, but now I go out with the other women and we laugh together,” says Purificio Rosales. “I feel stronger.”
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Ukraine – One Year After The Unthinkable | Your Support In 2022

On February 24th of 2022, conflict erupted in Ukraine. Millions were forced to flee with little more than a suitcase. When the unthinkable happened, you, and thousands of others throughout Ireland and the world, showed your support.

Katerina, a 34-year-old Ukrainian refugee from Odessa, together with her son Miron*, 2 and her daughter Daria*, 8, in the backyard of the Bronx People Association, August 3rd, 2022. *Name changed to protect identity. Photo: Ioana Moldovan/Oxfam

One example is David, the founder of Bronx House in Romania – he offered up rooms to families displaced from Ukraine, taking in a total of 21 children and their parents. To enable more small organisations to continue this essential work, Oxfam has partnered with multiple local partners. Thanks to you, we can ensure that families fleeing the conflict have safety, security and dignity.

Bronx House receives support to ensure it can continue housing, feeding and assisting these families. But it does more than just that. It has created a community, a support network and a place for creativity. Children learn to cook, they practice judo and they create art. It enables them to express their trauma alongside learning coping mechanisms and lifelong skills.

Katerina Koshova, a 34-year-old Ukrainian refugee from Odessa, during cooking activities organized by the Bronx People Association for Ukrainian women and children. August 3rd, 2022. *Name changed to protect identity. Photo: Ioana Moldovan/Oxfam
This is how you and other supporters offer hope and recovery. When a person has nowhere to turn – it is kind people like you that support them to keep going. Katerina, shown above with her youngest child, fled Ukraine without any plan. Her only thought was the safety of her children. She is so grateful that Oxfam-supported initiatives were available to provide what she lacked – a safe place for her and her children to sleep.
We arrived here start of March. After the first week of war. We travelled with my father who is over 60 years old. This is a very good place, very good people. Our children have good friends here. The children they have judo training. They have activities like cooking, painting. They like it very much here. My husband, his parents, my brother are all still in Ukraine. Will they be ok over there or not? I think about it every day. It’s hard to speak about this situation.
Left Image: Lunch being served after cooking activities organized by the Bronx People Association. Right Image: An 8-year-old Ukrainian girl is lifted into the air on the judo court at Bronx People Association. Photos: Ioana Moldovan/Oxfam
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