On February 6th, 2023, a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey near the Syrian border at around 04:17 local time, with multiple shocks following in subsequent days. In both Turkey and Syria, at least 55,000 were killed, more than 130,000 people were injured, infrastructure collapsed, and millions were left homeless For the 4.5 million people in northwest Syria, close to the earthquake’s epicenter, the impact was particularly devastating, since the population affected had already endured 11 years of conflict, displacement, and dire humanitarian need.
As one of the leading NGOS on the ground in northwest Syria, SAMS medical staff and facilities were among the immediate providers of life saving surgical and medical care for the victims of the catastrophic earthquakes. This was followed by SAMS launching an expanded response in northwest Syria, establishing new medical teams, and working closely with partners to deliver emergency aid to earthquake survivors in both Turkey and Syria.
In Syria, SAMS treated 3,887 earthquake trauma cases, performed 1,690 earthquake-related surgeries, activated 40 additional ICU beds, provided 27,895 clinic and outreach consultations, offered 5,860 mental health/psychosocial support services, and conducted 2,117 rehabilitation sessions. SAMS also reached out to 19,000 survivors with additional support, including shelter, food, hygiene and maternal and newborn kits in both countries.
In the days and months following the earthquake, SAMS sent 11 medical missions to Syria that included highly skilled volunteers in the most needed specialties. In addition, SAMS launched 22 new earthquake-related projects, hired 143 more staff in the field, and distributed 157 shipments of medical-related supplies to areas of greatest need.
One year on, SAMS continues to address the specialized health needs of earthquake survivors, including ongoing medical care, long-term physical therapy, rehabilitation, prosthetics, dialysis, and mental health services. We are launching a special child protection initiative, training doctors, nurses, midwives, and medical students, dispatching mobile medical clinics to displacement camps, deploying highly specialized medical missions, and working with partners to deliver critical winter aid to displaced families and children.
We are repairing earthquake-damaged hospitals and building new state of the art facilities, while also expanding SAMS’ one of a kind signature programs such as cancer centers, cardiac catheterization/interventions, stroke unit, the cochlear implant program, and coordinating with relief agencies to strengthen our impact.
SAMS could not have achieved these extraordinary results without the unwavering commitment of members, supporters, and partners around the world who selflessly and generously contributed to the care of those affected by the catastrophic earthquake. For that, we are profoundly grateful. As we continue to respond to growing health needs in Syria and around the globe, we ask for your continued partnership and support.