Support for Those Affected by the Earthquake Disaster
The destructive earthquake on 6 February 2023 has plunged people on the Turkish-Syrian border into even greater hardship. The situation is particularly dire in Syria, which, after more than twelve years of armed conflict, sanctions, and a reconstruction ban, faces one of the world’s largest and most complex humanitarian crises. The natural disaster and thousands of aftershocks have exacerbated the situation. HEKS/EPER provides relief and recovery aid for people affected by the earthquake.
In Syria, HEKS/EPER not only implemented immediate measures directly after the earthquake but is also actively involved in the long-term recovery and stabilization of the war-ravaged country. The focus here is on rehabilitating infrastructure and building economic resilience. HEKS/EPER is rehabilitating public bakeries and water infrastructure in governorates affected by the earthquake. HEKS/EPER improves the population's access to bread, water, sanitation, and hygiene services (WASH) and thus prevents the spread of water-borne epidemics.
Emergency aid measures
Just a few hours after the earthquake, HEKS/EPER initiated emergency aid measures in cooperation with local church partner organizations, in which churches and schools were made available as emergency shelters for the homeless people. In addition, HEKS/EPER together with its partner organization "Finn Church Aid" supported more than 1000 families with cash.
Rehabilitation of bakeries
Bread is the most important staple food in Syria. It is subsidized by the public sector and sold at five per cent of production costs, making it a lifeline for the 90 percent of people living below the poverty line. In the earthquake-affected areas, most public bakeries were damaged to varying degrees, resulting in decreasing production and leading to severe bread shortages and hunger. True to the motto "Bread for all", HEKS/EPER carried out the largest bread emergency relief operation in Syria: the team rehabilitated the buildings of 18 public bakeries, repaired defective production lines and provided additional production lines to increase bread production capacity. This comprehensive project will ensure sustainable access to affordable bread for more than one million people.
Water, sanitation, and hygiene
Additionally, there has been an increase in cases of cholera, hepatitis A and typhoid in Syria, partly due to the destruction of the water and sanitation infrastructure caused by the earthquake. HEKS/EPER is committed to improving access to water, combating the causes of water-borne diseases, and preventing their spread. To achieve this, HEKS/EPER is carrying out a comprehensive project to rehabilitate water supply systems, which includes water and wastewater pipes, water tanks, boreholes, and pumping stations. This intervention also includes the "Surprise Soap" pilot project, which aims to promote hygiene among schoolchildren while simultaneously supporting the livelihoods of local soap manufacturers.
Finally, livelihood support for 15.3 million people is the second most important unmet need in the country. To strengthen the resilience and self-reliance of the population, HEKS/EPER's long-term plan involves rehabilitating livelihood infrastructure such as public vocational training centers and rural development centers that previously provided people with technical and social skills as well as employment opportunities. The plan also includes support for more than 300 individuals, with a variety of activities such as vocational training, direct employment within the rehabilitated infrastructures and the distribution of professional tools or grants for establishing small businesses.
To sustain our commitment, your support is urgently needed. This will enable us to stand with the long-suffering people during these challenging times.