Written by: Ken Wong (Communications Officer)
On 2 February, Turkey and Syria were rocked by two major earthquakes and multiple aftershocks that killed more than 50,000 people and injured more than 120,000. According to WHO officials, Syria has already been in a deep humanitarian crisis for years due to war and cholera, and the country can in no way deal with the aftermath of earthquakes, whether in the near or mid-term.
The earthquakes have wreaked havoc that far exceeded the damage caused by shelling during the civil war. Worse, earthquakes gave no warning. Despite the extreme challenges, towering fears and shattering fatigue, however, CEDAR partners have, by the grace of the Lord, done their utmost to provide for the families in need and bring hope to the victims.
One of the victims is Julia (pseudonym), an 88-year-old mother living with her son in Aleppo. Due to injuries in both her shoulder blades and forearms sustained in a car accident, Julia has been out of work and has had difficulties taking care of housework and personal hygiene. Already, she is devastated economically and emotionally, and the earthquakes have pushed Julia and her son further into destitution.
Through CEDAR’s funding, the local church has offered Julia and her son food baskets and hygiene products. She told us that the Lord has given her hope for the future through the provisions. ‘We have long needed help badly in Aleppo. The civil war has resulted in poor living conditions and has caused us great stress. People are breaking under the crises that came one after another. But thank God for the church who provides fairly and generously to His children. It gives us great hope that things will get better. In the earthquakes, it felt like the end of the world. It was terrible! We must trust the Lord even more because He is always with us. We can’t survive without Him.’
Thank God for the supporters warming to the needy calls from Syria. As a result, CEDAR has been able to increase the funding, bringing the total aid to US$650,000 (approx. HK$5,102,500), which translated into more assistance to victims. The disaster relief project is being delivered in two phases. The first, already completed, was a two-and-a-half-month effort to meet dire needs of food, hygiene and warmth to get victims through the winter. The second phase started in May and will last for 24 months, aiming to provide regular supplies of food and hygiene products to help the victims through difficulties.
The following is a short video of the Phase 1 relief efforts:
(Please specify: Earthquake Emergency Response in Syria)
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If the donation exceeds the above mentioned allocation of funds, the excess amount will be transferred to CEDAR’s ‘Emergency Relief and Disaster Preparedness Fund’. The fund will enable us to respond to immediate needs, and support disaster mitigation in poor nations always being hit by disasters to reduce the amount of devastation.