Amid Catastrophe in Türkiye, Syria, Relief Efforts Must Include Displaced People and Local Civil Society

Last night, Türkiye and Syria were hit by two of the strongest earthquakes in the region in more than 100 years. The epicenter was in Gaziantep, Türkiye—the critical regional hub for the humanitarian response in Northwest Syria and home to hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians. The scale of suffering and destruction across the region is immense. Nearly 12 million people are impacted, including 2 million Syrian refugees. The numbers of people reported dead and injured continue to rise.  

In Northwest Syria, more than 4 million people depend on critical humanitarian aid and protection services, most of which are provided from southwest Türkiye. The destruction is disrupting cross-border relief efforts in a region already reeling from years of war, devastating aid cuts, and a recent outbreak of cholera. Roads between Türkiye and Northwest Syria are reportedly blocked, impeding the timely delivery of international assistance. A massive humanitarian response is needed—and efforts must include local civil society and displaced people.

Please see below statement from Refugees International Vice President for Programs and Policy Hardin Lang:

“Refugees International urges the international community to provide urgent humanitarian aid to affected communities in Türkiye and Syria. We call for unfettered aid access to impacted areas. The international community must ensure that aid reaches Syrian civil society groups leading the response in Northwest Syria, where millions of Syrians now face even more acute protection concerns.”

Please see below statement from Refugees International Senior Advocate for the Middle East Jesse Marks:

“Governments must consider all options for the timely delivery of aid to impacted areas in Türkiye and across the border in Syria, particularly for areas where access remains elusive. It is also critical that, in areas beyond the reach of UN actors, aid is deployed to support local responders on the frontlines in northwest Syria.

In the coming weeks and months, relief and recovery efforts on both sides of the border must include displaced people, including Syrian refugees in Türkiye and internally displaced people in Syria.”

To provide immediate support, please consider donating to our partners working on the ground to respond to the crisis, including The American Relief Coalition for Syria and The White Helmets.

 For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Refugees International’s Vice President for Strategic Outreach Sarah Sheffer at 

Photo Caption: Syrian civilians and members of the White Helmets work to save people trapped beneath a destroyed building following a magnitude 7.8 earthquake that hit Syria and Türkiye. (Photo by Anas Alkharboutli/picture alliance via Getty Images)