On 6 February 2023, multiple earthquakes hit southern Türkiye and northern Syria – with the most severe one measured at a 7.8 magnitude level, being the most powerful earthquake recorded in the region since 1939. Following the earthquakes, multiple aftershocks were reported with tremors felt in varying intensities across northern Syria where 4.6 million people depend on humanitarian assistance as of January 2023.
The earthquake has compounded an already dire situation for Syrian communities impacted by conflict, weak infrastructure, an ongoing cholera outbreak and harsh winter conditions including heavy rain and snow. Furthermore, the humanitarian response for Syria has been largely overstretched, and is still unable to meet urgent needs, with a funding gap of 48% identified in the last quarter of 2022 alone.
With funding from the Crisis and Support Centre of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (CDCS), Acted has been supporting earthquake-affected households across northern Syria for over two months by providing emergency food assistance to address immediate life-saving food needs.
Acted complemented its on-going food security programming to cover the acute basic food needs of 3,992 food insecure households (about 20,405 individuals). Acted targeted the most vulnerable households with four rounds of Cash for Food (CFF), thereby directly contributing to filling critical Food Security response gaps in northern Syria.
Jamil*, a 60-year-old man, lives with his wife and two children, and suffers from a chronic disease. He is the sole breadwinner of the family but doesn’t have a stable job. Instead, he relies on the modest income generated from his olive trees.
Prior to the earthquake, the situation was manageable as Jamil and other families living there were able to access food. However, following the earthquake, the situation has changed:
To deal with this tough situation, I started being careful with how we spend money at home. I only bought the things we absolutely had to have every day. I tried to choose the things that cost less but still gave us enough to eat. But even with my efforts, things got really hard financially. I had to borrow money to pay for the things we really needed, like food and stuff we use every day. It was a big concern and added further burdens to our household finance.
Acted intervened by covering the acute basic food needs of the most vulnerable households with four rounds of CFF distribution:
Acted’s intervention was a turning point for my family. Our situation got a lot better, and the tough times we were facing started to get easier. Thanks to Acted, I was able to get enough food for my family. We didn't have to worry about being hungry or not getting the food we needed. Beyond the tangible impact on our food security, Acted's intervention restored hope and dignity to our lives. Instead of feeling vulnerable and dependent, we were empowered to take control of our future and work towards long-term stability
Thinking about the future of his family, Jamil explains:
Our situation right now is very tough, and our hopes for what comes next depends on getting help and finding jobs. When we think about the future, we want to build our lives back up, make our home safe, and have a good life for our family. The help we have gotten so far has been a big help when things were really hard. If the help continues, we will have what we need to keep going, especially making sure we have food, a place to live, and healthcare
Acted’s intervention has ensured consistent food access for the targeted community, reinforcing their capacity to fulfil essential nutritional requirements. In addition, it has upheld their dignity, bolstered resilience against persistent adversities, and fostered recovery among earthquake-affected households.