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Map showing scale of earthquake in Turkey and Syria if it had impacted the UK

What happened in Turkey and Syria?

Powerful earthquakes ravaged southern Türkiye (formerly Turkey) and northern Syria, killing more than 50,000 people and damaging 66,000 buildings.

Homes were destroyed or left unsafe and people slept in the open. The freezing temperatures created an immediate risk to life for people who were too afraid to return home or had no home to go back to.

In northwest Syria many buildings were already damaged by years of civil war, and that’s where some of the worst damage was reported.

With 3 million people already displaced by the war, Syria is at breaking point. Families face harsh living conditions, freezing temperatures and diseases like cholera. They have faced the destruction of war, only to be hit again by these events.

How did ShelterBox help?

ShelterBox supported 18,800 people in Türkiye and Syria with aid.

In Türkiye ShelterBox supplied emergency tents and other essential items like blankets, mattresses, stoves and lighting.

In Syria we supplied tents, high thermal blankets, mattresses, solar lights and water carriers through our partner, Bahar.

We also distributed blankets, mattresses and winter coats for children in Syria through our partner, ReliefAid.

ShelterBox emergency response teams visited Gaziantep, one of many cities in Türkiye left devastated by the earthquakes.

Getting aid into Türkiye and Syria was complicated. But we are used to working in challenging environments and were determined to overcome every hurdle. We worked with local authorities, partners, and Rotary, to make sure people affected by the earthquakes got the aid they needed.

Please donate today. Your support will provide emergency shelter for families affected by disasters around the world.

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Your questions answered

Where was the earthquake in Turkey?

The initial 7.8m earthquake struck southern Türkiye (formerly Turkey), close to the northern Syria border.

The epicentre was about 20 miles from Gaziantep – a major city and provincial capital .

5,700 aftershocks were reported, including a strong 6.7m earthquake minutes after the first earthquake . A third struck the same region hours later as the rescue effort was well underway.

turkey earthquake map
Map of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria
When did the earthquake hit Turkey?

The first devastating earthquake struck southern Türkiye (formerly Turkey) at 4:17am local time (1:17am GMT)  on 6 February 2023. 

A powerful aftershock of 6.7 magnitude hit just minutes after the first earthquake .

On Monday 20 February 2023, another 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the same region at 8:04pm local time (5:04pm GMT). It was followed three minutes later by a 5.8m aftershock.

Are earthquakes common in Turkey and Syria?

This region is one of the world’s most active seismic zones and earthquakes are frequently reported.

The 7.4m Izmir earthquake in 1999 killed over 17,000 people. Officials have repeatedly warned of such events.

Who was affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria?

The death toll in Türkiye (formerly Turkey) and Syria was over 50,000.

More than 66,000 buildings collapsed or were damaged and over 100,000 people were injured. The need was vast. People were homeless and out in the open in the middle of freezing winter conditions.

Before the earthquakes, 4.1 million people in Northwest Syria were in need of humanitarian assistance – mostly women and children. They faced the destruction of war and were then hit again by these events.

“Getting support into Northwest Syria is very difficult at the moment. The already limited supply routes are now damaged, and the political situation is complex. The people in the affected regions will be exhausted following years of conflict. We have extensive experience in supporting people in these areas with distributions of winter aid having recently been completed, but more will be needed.”

– Alice Jefferson, Head of Emergency Response for ShelterBox at the time of our response

How can I help people affected by the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria?

There are several ways you can help people affected by disasters like the earthquakes in Türkiye (formerly Turkey) and Syria.

1. Donate to a charity like ShelterBox

2. Raise awareness on social media or by talking about the disaster with your friends and family

3. Stand with people who have lost their homes in Turkey, Syria and beyond. Learn about some of the world’s hidden crises and share it with your network.


Where will my donation go?

When giving to ShelterBox you are contributing to a general donation fund.

Your support today will contribute our General Fund. We believe that the best way for us to be impactful is by staying flexible, and it is essential that we have funds available to support those affected by disasters around the world.

Man in Pakistan crouches outside his home destroyed by flooding

Disasters don’t stop

Right now we’re working to support communities in Gaza, Malawi, Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Chad and Mozambique.

Your support helps us go even further.