Updated: Feb 17
What sets LIFE apart from other not-for-profits, and how you can help LIFE continue to help those suffering in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.
The scenes of destruction from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria are difficult to view. With over 22,000 people dead, a number that continues to climb, this is the worst earthquake in this part of the world in over a century. Entire streets turned to rubble, and thousands of people left homeless, living in their cars or on the street; it is a tragic scene.
It would be comforting to think that mother nature does not discriminate and affects the rich and poor alike. However, as with most things in this world, the poor and the destitute, once again, are affected more intensely.
In Syria, there are currently 6.9 million people that have been internally displaced for 12 years due to the going conflict in the country. Many live in flimsy buildings or tents. Most of them are heavily reliant on foreign aid to survive. When the earthquake hit, these flimsy buildings were the first to go.
People are trapped under the rubble in the coldest weather of the year. Reporters on the scene update the rest of the world, trying to stay warm while frantically attempting to remove rubble with their hands, shovels, and buckets to find loved ones.
Unfortunately, because Turkey is also in crisis, the main routes and border crossings usually used by humanitarian agencies are closed. For three days, thousands of people in Syria have had no humanitarian aid or assistance from outside the country. As time has ticked on, the hope of recovering loved ones has faded.
Crossing the border into Syria is made increasingly difficult due to the current regime in power. Many supplies sent through designated points given by the regime never make it to the people in need. As a result, humanitarian agencies insist on sending supplies and help through borders that will allow access to the people.
It wasn’t until the fourth day, after the earthquake, late on Wednesday in Syria, that six trucks from an agency working with the UN passed through the northern border carrying blankets, medical equipment and other essential items.
This is far from adequate the people need and deserve so much more. Many people in Syria feel as though the international community has deserted them.
Fortunately, some agencies can and have been helping despite border closures and strict limitations on international interference. Life for Relief and Development is one of them.
One of the ways not-for-profits can recover some ability to act is to utilize local networks so that distributors and local workers can be deployed from within Syria. This requires a large extensive local network to pull off. LIFE has worked hard to be able to utilize such a network in Syria, internally addressing the problem and benefitting the people quickly and effectively.
Currently, LIFE is on the ground in Syria, working tirelessly to distribute emergency aid in Idlib, Ifrin, Jandaris, Azaz, Salqin, Harim, and Sarmada, Syria. LIFE has given food, bottled water, shelter, firewood and heavy winter blankets to over 1,000 families that have lost their homes. LIFE has also provided 900 hot meals, 190 food baskets, 20 mattresses, 1.5 tons of gas to hospitals and civil defense, hygiene kits and medicines to hospitals in northern Syria, including Al-Amal hospital, Haram hospital, Central hospital in Salqin and Al-Rahma hospital. LIFE has also set up tents providing shelter for 100 people.
However, LIFE can only do so much. LIFE needs your help to continue this effort. With more support, LIFE can help many more people in need. Our hearts go out to those that have lost loved ones and to those that have yet to be reunited. Let us work together to ease the suffering of all and those most affected, the displaced, the poor, and the refugee.