Hundreds of families to receive shelter, blankets, clothes and food
The international Christian relief organization Shelter Now starts emergency aid for earthquake victims in Syria. Employees of the organization, which is otherwise active in Afghanistan and northern Iraq, are currently getting a picture of the situation in the area and initiating the first aid projects, reports Udo Stolte, the German director of Shelter Now. They have experienced partners in the earthquake region with whom Shelter Now has previously cooperated on projects, including in the cities of Aleppo and Kobane, but also in villages that often received no or insufficient support.
According to official figures, the earthquake on February 6 has taken the lives of at least 42,000 people, including around 6,000 in Syria. More than 100,000 were injured, some seriously, it said. According to Stolte, tents, blankets and warm clothing are needed primarily due to the bitter cold in the region. Equally urgent, he said, are food, hygiene products and powdered baby milk.
In the Kurdish militia-controlled town of Kobane near the Turkish border alone, more than 200 families are currently sleeping outdoors, while their homes are in danger of collapsing due to the earth tremors, Stolte learned from aid workers in the area. For distribution by a local Christian church, Shelter Now needs 70 tents, 120 blankets, plus rugs, food rations, household utensils, and 66 kerosene stoves with fuel for 250 families. According to Stolte, the relief supplies can be purchased in the region – which is why monetary donations are currently the most efficient form of aid.
Shelter Now helps earthquake victims regardless of the political power structure Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox churches in areas controlled by the Syrian regime have also appealed to Shelter Now and its partners for humanitarian assistance. In the provincial capital Aleppo, 220 families are to receive shelter and supplies, and in the port city Latakia, 80 households.
In addition to the material needs, many people are traumatized by the disaster and suffer from panic attacks, especially as aftershocks continue to occur, Stolte reports. Therefore, the Shelter Now team in Syria also includes a trained trauma therapist.
Brunswick, February 17, 2023
Shelter Now is an international relief organization with a coordination office in Germany. It was active in Pakistan from 1983 to 2016. Work began in 1988 in Afghanistan and in 2014 in the Autonomous Region of Kurdistan (Northern Iraq). The name of the organization in Germany is “Shelter Now Germany e.V.”. Shelter Now finances its relief efforts to a large extent from private donations. Shelter Now’s efficient and project-related use of funds is certified by the German Central Institute for Social Issues (DZI) with the donation seal.