Published: 2023-03-07 12:20
Last Updated: 2023-03-24 02:31
One month after the deadly earthquakes that struck Turkey and Syria, more than 850,000 children remain displaced after being forced from their damaged or destroyed homes, according to UNICEF.
The number of children killed and injured during the quakes and their aftermath has not yet been confirmed but is likely to be in the many thousands.
The combined death toll from the earthquakes and aftershocks has exceeded 50,000 people and thousands of others were injured.
Additionally, there was massive destruction to buildings and other essential infrastructure in both countries.
The impact of the earthquakes on the region's children and families has been catastrophic, leaving hundreds of thousands in desperate conditions.
Many families are now living in temporary shelters after losing their homes.
- The situation in Turkey -
In Turkey alone, more than 1.9 million people are staying in temporary accommodation shelters with limited access to basic services such as water, sanitation and medical services in the affected areas.
2.5 million children in Turkey are in desperate need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
“Families forced from their homes by the earthquakes have spent the past four weeks focused on survival, their lives on hold while aftershocks continue to rumble,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, Afshan Khan.
“It is now critical to do all we can to help families begin to rebuild their lives – providing children with psychosocial support, getting them back into learning as soon as possible, and providing some stability amid the chaos,” the regional director added.
- The situation in Syria -
In Syria, more than 500,000 people are believed to have been forced from their homes by the earthquakes.
Many families’ homes have been destroyed and many children are afraid to return to damaged homes as aftershocks continue.
Even before the earthquakes, Syria had the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, with 6.8 million people displaced – including nearly three million children. Across Syria, more than 3.7 million children have been affected by the quakes.
“Even before these catastrophic earthquakes, humanitarian needs among children of Syria were higher than they have ever been,” said UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa Adele Khodr.
“As we approach 12 long years of conflict, millions of families are living on the brink of disaster, feeling as if the world had forgotten them. We must support these families for the long term, helping them pick up the pieces of their lives,” she added.