Please note the emergency is ongoing and this page is subject to frequent updates.
Last updated: 21 March 2023
On Monday 6 February, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-east Türkiye, close to the town of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border. Several hours later another 7.5 magnitude quake hit nearby. This is Türkiye's most powerful earthquake since 1939 and is believed to have caused an estimated $34.2 billion in direct physical damages - the equivalent of 4% of the country’s 2021 GDP. The disaster also impacted north-west Syria where 4.1 million people currently rely on humanitarian assistance.
As of 21 March, over 57,000 deaths had been reported in Türkiye and north-west Syria. The numbers are expected to climb as many people remain stuck under the rubble. In Türkiye 156,000 buildings have either completely collapsed or are so damaged they will require demolition. In north-west Syria over 9,100 buildings have collapsed - more than 1,600 buildings have been completely destroyed and more than 7,500 buildings have been partially destroyed, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless.
The UN and partners have quickly mobilized rapid response teams and funding to help people affected by the earthquake. UNDP’s current focus is to help prevent public health threats to affected populations and emergency responders and is planning to support the Government in addressing the daunting task of debris management and rubble removal.
have lost their lives
people are directly affected
people are targeted with the UN's Flash Appeals
in Türkiye are demolished or severely damaged
in north-west Syria are demolished or severely damaged
A $50 million
grant has been released by the UN CERF
In Türkiye, the disaster response is led by the Turkish Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD). The Turkish Government has issued a Level 4 alarm, calling for international assistance. The UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG) is coordinating efforts by international SAR teams, and United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) teams have established field operations centres and are helping to coordinate humanitarian efforts.
The Connecting Business initiative (CBi), hosted by the UNDP IICPSD, through its Network in Türkiye is actively involved in the response. The network, led by the Turkish Enterprise and Business Confederation (TÜRKONFED) in collaboration with the UNDP Business for Goals (B4G) platform, has mobilized more than 54,000 Turkish businesses to provide in-kind contribution, critical equipment and logistical services to the affected areas. IICPSD’s Resilience and Crisis Response Team is extending short-term support to the work of OCHA-UNDP Connecting Business Initiative and CBi Türkiye on the coordination on search and rescue and emergency management for earthquake-affected areas.
On 6 March, a 219-page document, titled TERRA (Türkiye Recovery and Reconstruction Assessment), was published to outline the recovery strategy in the short- (1 year), medium- (2-3 years) and long-term (3-5 years). It contains damage and assessments as well as recovery vision and strategy.
UN Crisis Relief Donation Appeal
HOW THE PRIVATE SECTOR CAN HELP
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is the part of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies. OCHA also ensures that there is a framework within which each actor — governments, international organizations, civil society, the private sector, and other stakeholders — can contribute to the overall response effort.
Working with a wide range of partners on the ground in Syria and Türkiye, OCHA has issued Flash Appeals in support of the Government-led response. Flash Appeals are issued after a major, sudden onset disaster that requires a coordinated response beyond the capacity of any one agency to respond to. They contain an analysis of the context along with sector-specific response plans and budgets to address acute humanitarian needs.
Flash Appeal for the Syrian Arab Republic
The best way for the private sector to help is by supporting the organizations and activities that are outlined in the Flash Appeals.
Business Guide: Türkiye and Syria Earthquakes
This Business Brief provides an overview of the crisis and guidance on how businesses can contribute to the humanitarian efforts underway.
- Make a financial contribution
- Make an in-kind contribution of goods and services
- Support public outreach and advocacy campaigns
For access to a wide range of additional resources, including Situation Reports, Flash Updates, and Appeals, visit the Türkiye/ Syria Earthquakes page on ReliefWeb.
Facing a once-in-a-generation disaster, on 6 February 2023, the Government of Türkiye issued a Level 4 alarm calling for international assistance.
The Connecting Business Initiative (CBi), hosted by the UNDP IICPSD, is collecting donations from individuals and businesses in Türkiye and responding to urgent requests from emergency responders. Through CBi's member network in Türkiye 179 trucks have delivered donations of food and non-food items, including over more than 21,000 blankets, 391 shelter containers, more than 1000 tents, more than 15,000 beds, four soup kitchens and three mobile kitchens, more than 100 portable toilets and bathrooms, more than 300 tractors and other debris-clearing equipment, three generators, 1000 heaters, and much more to affected areas. Businesses operating in Türkiye can reach out to the TÜRKONFED crisis hotline for local resources on recovery and guidance.
UNDP’s current focus is to help prevent public health threats to affected populations and emergency responders. As a first measure, UNDP has sent 160 770-liter dumpster-size waste bins; 54,000 kg of quicklime; and 10,400 liters of disinfectant to Hatay Metropolitan Municipality. UNDP will also soon deliver portable toilets and additional waste collection supplies while also working to repair some of the most urgently needed damaged water utilities.
Beyond these emergency measures, UNDP is planning to support the Government in addressing the daunting task of debris management and rubble removal. Early estimates indicate that the disaster has generated between 116 million and 210 million tons of rubble which have to be removed first – to clear the way for vital deliveries of food, water and other supplies, and to begin the restoration of normal social and economic activities. The World Bank reports that direct damages to residential buildings account for 53% ($18 billion) of the total damage, with 28% of damage ($9.7 billion) in non-residential buildings (e.g., health facilities, schools, government buildings, and private sector buildings), and 19% of damage ($6.4 billion) related to infrastructure (e.g., roads, power, water supply). At least 15 hospitals and 9,972 agricultural facilities have suffered partial or severe damage. 81% of the estimated damages occurred in 5 provinces - Hatay, Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Malatya and Adıyaman - which are home to around 6.45 million people.
Under the Türkiye earthquake Flash Appeal, launched by the United Nations on 16 February, UNDP is requesting $113.5 million. Priority interventions include emergency livelihoods and support to businesses to ensure that affected people receive an income; safe debris and rubble management to keep humanitarian operations safe and prevent the spread of diseases; urgent support to resume (where needed) the functionality of essential services, especially healthcare and water; multiple actions to prevent and address protection risks; and restoration of damaged cultural heritage.
In this emergency phase, the partnership between UNDP and key businesses in Türkiye will be critical to leverage private sector resources, capacities and expertise. To join and support these efforts please contact UNDP Türkiye focal point Hansin Dogan at email@example.com.
At the request of the Syrian Government, a seven-member United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) team was deployed to Syria on 10 February to support Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) coordination, international response coordination and information management in support of national response efforts. UNDAC has also activated an assessment and analysis cell to facilitate information and data flow across operational organisations and agencies responding to the crisis.
At least 1,600 buildings have been completely destroyed, and over 7,500 buildings partially destroyed, resulting in over 11,000 families now homeless. Most urgent needs include heavy machines for debris removal, tents and Non-Food Items (NFIs), and heating material and fuel for hospitals. A comprehensive REACH assessment focusing on 1) damage to residential buildings/ key infrastructure, 2) priority needs by sector, 3) preferred modality of assistance (e.g., cash), 4) displacement, started on 9 February.
On 7 February, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator allocated $25 million to the regional earthquake response, of which $15 million will go to the Syria response. A second CERF allocation of $25 million for Syria was announced on 10 February. For a rapid scale-up of principled and effective humanitarian response in areas most affected by the earthquake, humanitarian partners require $397.6 million to help more than 4.9 million people in most acute need over a three-month period from February to May 2023. The UNDP is playing a key role in the early recovery and improvement of livelihoods. Under the Syria earthquake Flash Appeal, launched on 14 February, the UN in-country support is needed and will be spent on the following:
More on the UNDP's response
100 seconds of living on shaky ground
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Millions of tons of earthquake rubble await removal in Türkiye
Clearing away the mountains of rubble generated when thousands of buildings collapsed in the devastating earthquakes that hit the Southeast region on 6 and 20 February 2023 is the top-priority area of support mapped out by the UNDP in its response to the disaster.
One Million Dollars Emergency Funding from Government of Japan for Debris Removal in Syria
The Government of Japan announced a contribution of US$1 million to the United Nations Development Programme for debris removal in response to the earthquakes that hit Türkiye and Syria on 06 February 2023.
Proposed Areas of UNDP Assistance for Recovery and Reconstruction after the 2023 Earthquakes in Türkiye
UNDP is well positioned to provide support to this effort, drawing on its decades-long presence in Türkiye and its wealth of global experience in helping countries rebuild after earthquake disasters.
‘A complete collapse of hope’ Already weary from a decade of war, Syrians face new upheaval
“We were asleep when the earthquake struck. We started noticing the ground beginning to shake. I was barely able to gather my children and take them outside. Our apartment is on the ground floor. The walls collapsed,” recalls Umm Jaud in Lattakia Governorate, western Syria.
UNDP Syria: Earthquake Response
On the morning of 06 February, multiple earthquakes - the strongest of 7.8 magnitude - hit south-western Türkiye and Syria. Several governorates in north, central, and western (coastal) parts of Syria were affected, namely Aleppo, Hama, Idleb, Lattakia, and Tartous.
Statement by UNDP Administrator on Earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye
We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and suffering following the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Türkiye. As part of the United Nations family, the UN Development Programme stands ready to support affected people in the coming days, weeks and months as they recover from this tragedy.