Türkiye and Syria Earthquake: A Reflection on the Humanitarian Response Amid the 12th Year Anniversary

March 17, 2023

Washington, D.C. - This week marks the 12th anniversary of the first peaceful protests in Syria and over one month since the devastating February 6th 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude earthquakes and the thousands of aftershocks that struck Türkiye and Syria following. These catastrophic earthquakes exacerbated an already fragile humanitarian situation in Syria that was already in a state of decline.

Following the earthquakes, local Syrian and diaspora humanitarian organizations were the first responders as they mobilized swiftly conducting search and rescue operations as well as providing immediate support to the survivors despite having limited funding, minimal resources, and no international support during the first 3 days of the catastrophe. While the initial emergency search and rescue efforts have ceased, the effects of this disastrous earthquake will continue to linger as thousands have been displaced and critical infrastructure such as medical centers and water and sewage systems have been destroyed. 

As a result of the earthquake, humanitarian organizations have experienced the redirection of already limited funds, previously allocated to established humanitarian programs, to earthquake response activities, resulting in a more unstable environment for sectors such as education and protection. To ensure an effective and sufficient humanitarian response, ARCS is urging the donor community to promptly release additional funds specifically for earthquake response programs and efforts prioritizing Syrian humanitarian organizations. This includes duty of care funding for the humanitarian responders who have been instrumental in the response efforts. This measure is crucial in safeguarding and preserving the lives and livelihoods of those affected by this unprecedented natural disaster.

In addition, to ensure an integrated response between the UN and the NGO community and to prevent any further hindering of critical humanitarian aid, ARCS is calling for the UN and its agencies to utilize and maintain open access to all accessible crossing points for a duration of time that is in line with the humanitarian needs on the ground. We urge the UN to continue to provide all activities pertaining to the cross-border humanitarian response under the mandate of the UN Secretariat. Using the legal bases advanced in the analysis, 2014 is not 2022: Why the Continuation of UN-Coordinated Cross-Border Aid into Syria Absent a UN Security Council Resolution is Lawful and supported by a high-profile letter endorsed by preeminent international jurists, we believe that humanitarian access should revert back to established International Humanitarian Law (IHL) provisions applicable to the facts of the Syrian conflict. Humanitarian needs on the ground should be the sole driver of the humanitarian response.

ARCS and its multi-sectoral members on the ground are working to actively respond to the disaster. If you would like to help, we encourage you to donate to ARCS or one or more of the following organizations: 


To donate to ARCS please visit: https://arcsyria.org/donate 


ARCS Member Organizations: 

Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS): https://www.sams-usa.net/donate/

Syria Relief and Development (SRD): https://srd.ngo/

Syrian Forum USA: https://sf-us.org

MedGlobal: https://medglobal.org/donations/general-donation-form/

Rahma WorldWide: https://www.facebook.com/donate/497895759169495/

Swasia Charity Foundation: https://swasia.org/donation/

NuDay Syria: https://donate.nudaysyria.org/give/465123/#!/donation/checkout

Karam Foundation: https://www.karamfoundation.org/ 

Other Organizations: 

White Helmets: https://www.whitehelmets.org/en/

Molham Volunteering Team: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=QGVWWJWYRJWZ8


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