Syria earthquakes: "Everyone started running from their homes."

An MSF patient shares his experience in the aftermath of the disaster 

Earthquake in Idleb governorate

Abdulbari is a 19-year-old Syrian man who has been receiving treatment from Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) for eight years at our hospital in Atmeh, northwestern Syria. He suffered severe burn injuries from a missile strike in 2015. Here, Abdulbari shares his experience of the earthquakes and what life has been like near Idlib in the days since.

February 06 07:43 AM

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Syrians dig through the rubble left by the earthquake in northwest Syria in 2023.

"I live about 30 kilometers [18 miles] southwest of Idlib, in Syria. But when the earthquakes happened, I was visiting my aunt who doesn't live very far from there.

We were woken up in the middle of the night, everyone started running from their homes and shouting in the street. In this village, the houses are old, many have collapsed.

Help arrived quickly and we started to help the victims under the rubble.

Abdulbari is a 19-year-old Syrian man who has been receiving treatment from MSF for eight years. Syria 2023 © Omar Haj Kadour

Now people live on the streets, in tents or [under] trees. They are poor and have no access to shelter.

I also know that many children were rescued, but not their parents who remained under the rubble.

I heard the call that was made to able-bodied people to help rescue in other areas.

The Civil Defence [White Helmets volunteer organization] is overwhelmed and cannot manage this on its own. We need equipment, but we have nothing at the moment."

MSF's earthquake response in Syria

MSF launched an emergency response in northwestern Syria a few hours after the earthquakes. MSF teams were already present and active on the ground, and have been working in this region for more than 10 years. We also support a network of more than 20 health centers in the region, from the north, near Turkish border, to the south of the city of Idlib. MSF teams and partners took care of several thousand injured people and made donations of medical equipment to health centers.

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