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Women in crisis

The earthquake in Syria has deepened trauma for women – here’s how you can help
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Devastation in Idlib, Syria. Photo credit Khaled Akacha

Main image: Devastation caused by the earthquake in Idlib, north-west Syria. Photo credit Khaled Akacha

This article first appeared in our International Women’s Day issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 08 March 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

On 06 February 2023, two deadly earthquakes killed at least 36,000 people across Türkiye and Syria.

Women for Women International is working on the ground with partner Women Now for Development (WND), which says humanitarian aid is still not reaching war-torn regions of north-west Syria.

Evacuation and relocation

According to the UN, as many as 5.3 million people in Syria have been left homeless by this disaster, with many sleeping in sub-zero temperatures without food or medical attention.  

Women for Women International has been working with Women Now for Development (WND), based in Aleppo, since 2020, helping Syrian women to rebuild their lives.

Colleagues are in constant touch and, thankfully, report that their team members are all accounted for and safe.

Tragically though, many have lost family members as well as their homes and are seeking safe shelter. 

WND and the women served in that region have already been displaced several times during the war and are mentally devastated by this latest trauma.

The priority is to help them address their most urgent needs, including covering evacuation and relocation costs, emergency cash assistance and psycho-social support.

‘It’s been only a very short period of time since our children began to feel settled in the homes to which we fled after the forced displacement we went through in late 2019.

‘But their feelings of fear and terror returned after the massive earthquake, and the scenes of victims and debris again.

‘My child, who is not yet six years old, said to me yesterday: ‘Get me out of here, I feel my heart will explode with fear.’

Women Now for Development

Women and natural disasters

Earthquakes know no borders – and the Syrian people have a right to humanitarian aid.

The international community must step up to allow aid to reach Syria through all border crossings and this aid must address the unique needs of women who, as caregivers, shoulder the highest burden of any crisis.

Women for Women International is raising funds to meet the immediate critical needs of members of the WND team who are severely impacted by this disaster, so they can continue to serve women survivors of the war.

Working with women in conflict-affected countries for 30 years, Women for Women International knows all too well that natural disasters only worsen the situation for people already facing unimaginable challenges.

It is women – already deeply socially and economically marginalised – who have the hardest time recovering and rebuilding their lives in the wake of a crisis.

Click here to donate to Women for Women International’s earthquake appeal.

Join the call for a coordinated and women-centred international humanitarian response to the earthquake by signing the petition here.

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