People walk beside rubble left by collapsed buildings

HI teams provide rehabilitation care to earthquake survivors

Humanity & Inclusion and its partners responding to the earthquakes in northwest Syria are working in four key areas: health, protection, armed violence reduction and logistics services.

Ten days after 7.8- and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes hit southern Türkiye and northern Syria, at least 41,000 people are reported dead. Experts believe the death toll could double as rescue and recovery efforts continue. The disaster affected a 250-mile radius between the two countries that is home to 12 million people.

Homes and schools are destroyed. Power plants and water systems are damaged. Hospitals and medical centers are overwhelmed.

Humanity & Inclusion's response is focused on the following issues:

  • Health: rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support
  • Protection: inclusive and accessible humanitarian assistance
  • Armed violence reduction: explosive remnants of war risk education
  • Pooled logistics services: delivery of humanitarian assistance

Actions in northwest Syria

With 335 people already working in Syria before the earthquakes, Humanity & Inclusion was able to act fast. Right now, 200 members for HI's team and local partners are focused specifically on the regional earthquake response in northwest Syria. HI staff members are working to support 13 hospitals.

"Among them, 15 HI rehabilitation specialists and 30 from our partners have already started responding to the emergency," explains Myriam Abord-Hugon, HI's program director for Syria. "More than 50 mental health and psychosocial support specialists—from HI and partners—are ready to support survivors. The setup of the teams will increase in the coming days."

To assist patients with serious injuries, including amputations, 17 partners specializing in artificial limbs and braces are also responding.

Since the onset of the crisis, physical therapists have been providing urgent physical assessments and early rehabilitation sessions, including education of patients and their caregivers, to prevent any potential complications.

Already, 1,183 injured individuals have been assessed and provided with rehabilitation services and 1,530 follow-up sessions have been conducted. HI has donated 1,319 assistive and mobility devices—including canes and crutches—to different hospitals in the region. Additional supplies ranging from bandages to mattresses to prosthetics equipment have also been distributed to hospitals.

Specialists have also offered psychosocial support to 1,000 people with mental health needs.

HI's explosive device awareness teams were on standby after the earthquake, but this time was used to prepare safety messages in the context of the earthquake. They were trained and returned to the field to deliver safety messages to rescue teams and rubble removers.

Scaling up HI's response

In the coming weeks, HI plans to intensify its intervention in northwestern Syria to develop additional rehabilitation, psychosocial support and risk education services. HI also plans to rapidly bring much-needed supplies—assistive devices, artificial limbs, medical supplies—to northwest Syria, if administrative access is granted. 

An emergency staff care cell has been set up to support HI's Syrian staff affected by the earthquake with support from HI staff in other Arabic-speaking countries and external resources.

HI has initiated a specific needs assessment for rehabilitation and MHPSS in northwestern Syria to identify current and future needs in the region. In addition, HI is contributing to an ongoing multi-sectoral needs assessment being conducted by REACH. REACH is a leading humanitarian initiative providing granular data, timely information and in-depth analysis from contexts of crisis, disaster and displacement. The work of REACH directly feeds into aid response and decision-making by providing accessible and precise information on the humanitarian situation of crisis-affected populations.

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