SURYOYE AID NETWORK INTERNATIONAL
From the consortium of the Suryoye Aid Network International: “devastating earthquake again hits Christians hard in their livelihood” Last night, while people slept in their homes, they deemed safe, Turkey’s worst earthquake ever occurred. With an epicenter 26 km from Gaziantep, the force was felt throughout the Middle East, right down to registrations in Greenland.
In addition to the severely affected places in Turkey, also the traditionally Christian towns in Syria such as Aleppo, Homs, Tartous and Latakia were hit hard. Residents who have already endured so much hardship from war, persecution, displacements and most recently a growing financial crisis, are dealt another blow that must be overcome again.
After the initial shock, calls for help quickly materialized. Suryoye Aid Network International, in cooperation with its international relief organizations, such as Schlomo Netherlands, SCHlomo Switzerland, Syriac Cross Belgium and Germany, immediately reserved two bank accounts for donations toward initial, basic relief supplies. Malek Hanna, Syrian director of Syriac Cross Organiztaion Syria (SCO) reacts: “We as SCO are aware of the humanitarian duty we have undertaken since our inception ten years ago to help vulnerable people where we can reach, so we stand ready to help the affected families of the earthquake”.
This morning HH Mor Ignatius Aphrem II Karim, Patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch, made an urgent appeal via social media to pray for the victims of the earthquake and their families. He accompanied this with a photo of his badly damaged church. There are also accounts of structural damage to other churches such as at the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral of St. George, in Aleppo, the Franciscan Church in Lattakia and the Iskenderun Greek Orthodox Church.
According to Syriac Press, Melkite Catholic priest Father Imad Dahir passed away due to injuries he received in the partial collapse of the Melkite Archdiocese building in Holob (Aleppo), Syria. The passing of Father Dahir was confirmed to the Syriac Press news desk by a Syriac Orthodox priest in Holob via telephone. A Protestant priest in İskenderun, Father Hakan Konur, and his wife were killed in a building collapse. Their son survived the collapse.
Just 10 hours after the earthquake, the death toll in Turkey is already rising above 2,300 and in Syria, more than 800 fatalities have been recorded by SANA and the Syria Civil Defense. This number is expected to rise sharply. Medical aid is under great pressure. A spokesman for Suryoye Aid Network International recognizes this problem: “We have a fully equipped ambulance on standby at our medical center in Northeast Syria. We are cordially prepared to deploy it wherever it should be needed.”
Morale is kept up by an occasional bright spot: in Antakya (Turkey), the couple Malke and Stire Cagar are found in the hospital after being missing for hours.
Suryoye Aid Network International is fully established in the affected areas and has its volunteers on standby in various locations to carry out emergency aid. Our network is always ready to cooperate with other (international) NGOs in order to carry out the needs of affected people and their families.
For coordination and implementation, contact Sandra Korteweg: +31 610 15 0002