The earthquake of 6 February 2023 in Türkiye and Syria caused enormous destruction in terms of both lives and property: in Türkiye alone, 45 thousand people died under the over 230,000 collapsed buildings, 1.7 million were forced into tents, nearly 3 million were made homeless and the livelihoods of some 9 million people were severely affected. Following the earthquake, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) launched a domestic fundraising campaign and at the same time sent its humanitarian experts to conduct assessments and prepare relief immediately after the end of the rescue phase. HIA closely cooperates with its local partner organisations in the region.

The humanitarian aid programme relying on prior assessments has targeted the most urgent daily needs: during March HIA has distributed hygiene items in Adıyaman and non-perishable food to residents of ad-hoc encampments in Hatay province and supported an emergency school with school supplies – helping a total of 7,000 earthquake survivors so far.

Nearly 100,000 people in Hungary have joined HIA’s fundraising campaign by calling the 1353 donation hotline, and Tesco has provided an extraordinary donation of $60 thousand to the initiative. Thanks to the broad coalition of helpers, Hungarian Interchurch Aid is able to launch a 6-months humanitarian aid programme worth $300 thousand to help the victims of the earthquake, which includes emergency aid (non-perishable food and hygiene kits) as well as the installation of residential and WASH containers in three camps of Hatay and Gaziantep provinces.

Announcing the comprehensive aid programme in an Iskenderun campsite, László Lehel, president-director of HIA personally delivered aid kits, and has also met with partner organisations to lead high-level talks about future relief operations. Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s relief efforts in Türkiye are supported by ACT Alliance, which guarantees the enhancement of the aid programme with further elements in the near future, reaching tens of thousands of people in need in the coming 6 months.