News Release

Church Provides Continued Help For Those Affected by Earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

18 projects over 11.5 million USD approved so far

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to provide help for those affected by the earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria in the early hours of February 6, 2023. Additional aid has been approved by the Church, including food boxes, hygiene kits and mobile clinics, tents, mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets. The items are being distributed in the areas affected by the natural disaster. So far, the Church is assisting in 18 relief projects for Türkiye and Syria that amount to more than 11.5 million USD.

The Turkish government, through its disaster relief agency AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Authority), governments of other nations and global relief organizations moved quickly to provide immediate assistance. The main challenge is the survival of the 13 million people who are left without shelter, income, medical care and other necessities of life. Up to two million children have lost one or both parents.

The Church is working to assist many of these people in great need so that they can rebuild their lives, amidst the difficult circumstances. Elder Peter Huber and Sister Carla Huber, a full-time humanitarian missionary couple from Switzerland who are based in Frankfurt, Germany are helping coordinate the relief effort. Before his recent retirement, Elder Huber was one of Switzerland’s leading disaster management experts. He had supervised rigorous, 72-hour computer simulations of massive earthquakes which helped the Swiss government prepare to deal with disaster conditions much like those in Türkiye.

As soon as it was safe, the Hubers travelled to Türkiye to get an accurate assessment of the conditions on the ground and how the Church could supply immediate relief. Based on their evaluation, a few projects were designed and approved by the Church. Upon evaluating the situation and reflecting on the dimension of the problem, Elder Huber stated, “The needs of these people are great. I must think big. I cannot be shy.”

The result of that visit was the launch of projects that will provide 50,000 hygiene boxes and 50,000 food boxes, each of which supports four to six people for a week. The food boxes contain products suited to the dietary requirements of Ramadan, the month-long holy season observed by the Muslim faithful that goes this year from March 22 to April 20. The items for these food boxes will be purchased from local vendors. AFAD will arrange transportation and delivery.

The Church also ordered four large, self-contained mobile medical clinics. Each clinic consists of four containers - OB-GYN, laboratory, sanitary and x-ray, and several large tents for triage, examination and in-patient care. Staffed by medical providers arranged through the Turkish Ministry of Health, the facilities will be delivered complete with generator, air filtering, air conditioning, heat, water purification, and all necessary medical equipment and supplies. Miraculously, three additional such mobile clinics, donated by the Church eight years ago to help Syrian refugees, were located intact and will also be sent to serve the earthquake victims.

“The world has the enormous task of saving these vulnerable people,” said Elder Rubén V. Alliaud, who oversees humanitarian aid in the Europe Central Area of the Church. “The Church wants to keep ‘thinking big’ and supplying as much support as possible to the Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims. They’re our brothers and sisters, fellow children of the God we worship. We feel blessed to work shoulder-to-shoulder with other faith groups, governments, charitable organizations and individuals. We hope more will join in this great humanitarian effort.”

Humanitarian Services of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints relieves suffering, fosters self-reliance and provides opportunities for service. It follows the admonition of Jesus Christ to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, take in the stranger, clothe the naked and visit the sick and afflicted. The Church sponsors relief and humanitarian development projects in more than 180 countries and territories and gives assistance without regard to race, religious affiliation or nationality. This effort is made possible by the generous donations and volunteerism of Latter-day Saints and friends of the faith.

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