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One year after the earthquake, Sondus gets her life back

Emergency Rehabilitation

Sondus was 8 years old when earthquakes struck Syria and Turkey in February 2023. A traumatic experience for this little girl who was badly injured and lost a sister and her mother. Humanity & Inclusion and its partners have been supporting her.

Sondus was 8 years old when the earthquake struck on February 6, 2023. She was seriously injured and had to have her toes amputated. Here she is at Al-Amal Center with her physical therapist. | © HI

On February 6, 2023, a massive earthquakes struck northwest Syria killing more than 6,000 people and injuring a further 10,000. The earthquakes caused yet more pain and devastation to a country already torn apart by 12 years of war. HI and its partners are helping more than 10,000 people to get back on their feet.

Sondus is one of them.

A family in mourning

Sondus used to live with her family in the Idlib region of northwest Syria. She lost her mother and her sister in the earthquakes and her house was destroyed. She now lives with her grandmother. It has all been too much for a little girl to cope with.

Sondus lost her toes

Sondus was seriously injured in the disaster, and her toes had to be amputated. When Sondus came to the Al-Amal Center in Salqin, she was completely dependent on her grandfather to move.

It was a traumatic experience for Sondus and she remained mute, unwilling or unable to communicate with the people around her.

Sondus was in shock

She was also reluctant to have anything to do with people she didn’t know and initially refused therapy. HI helped her overcome her fears and reluctance.

HI’s psychosocial workers encouraged her to draw and paint to express her feelings. They gradually gained her trust and prepared her psychologically for the rehabilitation activities to come. They managed to alleviate her fear of treatment.

Sondus’ grandmother also received psychosocial support sessions, as well as caregivers’ education sessions to enable her to monitor Sondus’ progress and support her.

Walking again

The rehabilitation team then worked on a physical therapy plan with Sondus until she was capable of walking independently.

Today, the little girl is in good shape and is communicating with others. She is playing with her friends again and has returned to school, where she is in the third grade.

“I am feeling much better; I go to school and I play with my friends. Thank you HI.”

On February 6, 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Turkey near the Syrian border, with thousands of aftershocks. The disaster impacted at least 15.73 million people in Turkey and Syria, with over 55,000 lives lost and nearly 130,000 injured. Millions were displaced from their homes. In Syria, the earthquake exacerbated the effects of the ongoing war, deepening the crisis for approximately 3.7 million children.

Date published: 02/01/24


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