A major 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Türkiye and northwest Syria on 6 February, followed by a second 7.5 magnitude earthquake, having devastating impacts on the Syrian and Turkish people. More than 46,000 people lost their lives as buildings collapsed, and millions of others have been affected in 10 cities across Türkiye and the city of Aleppo in Syria.
Along with the destruction of buildings, roads have been damaged making it difficult for rescue teams to reach the areas in need. The winter cold is adding further challenges to rescue missions, and people who lost their homes in the destruction are now battling the cold weather and snow without a safe place to live.
“We did not feel the earthquake in Istanbul, but we keep receiving updates from colleagues in the affected region and we feel their pain closely,” says Tamar, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Türkiye.
“There are church buildings which collapsed, and we started hearing about many close friends, church members, and community members who will not be with us anymore.”
The Bible Society team in Türkiye is on the ground equipping churches in caring for survivors of the disaster by providing safe drinking water, non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, baby food, medical supplies, blankets, winter clothes, shoes, and masks to those most in need. They are also supplying Scripture resources to the suffering – bringing hope in the darkness.
The Bible Society team in Syria is continuing their longstanding trauma healing program, equipping churches to support people in their communities dealing with trauma. The need for trauma counselling and support will be even greater as the Syrian people are faced with rebuilding their lives after the earthquake and grieving loved ones.
“Many might think that Jesus has forgotten about us, but He hasn’t,” says George, General Secretary of the Bible Society in Syria.
“He is right here! I see Him walking the streets of Aleppo and my heart is rejoicing with tears in my eyes. I see Jesus sitting down with the ones who cannot walk the streets any longer. I see Jesus sitting with the children in our churches that have opened their doors wide open. I see Jesus carry the sick and the wounded. He is certainly alive in Aleppo these days.”
Please continue to pray for the people of Syria and Türkiye, and for our Bible Society teams and church partners on the ground.
“We are all so thankful to you for praying for us,” says George.
“Your prayers have kept us alive. Your prayers have given us joy amid pain and sorrow, and your prayers have kept us close to our Lord Jesus Christ. He continues to be our only hope!”