When the 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit southern Turkey (officially renamed Türkiye) and northwestern Syria on February 6, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), already present in Syria, was able to respond right away. In the first hours, MSF teams treated 200 injured people in Idlib province.
As an immediate response, “MSF is supporting at least eight hospitals,” says Michel Lacharité, head of MSF’s emergency desk, “and we have a burn unit in Atme City and some medical staff from this hospital were detached to other hospitals which perform trauma surgery.” We are scaling up our response to meet the needs of people displaced by the earthquake in Syria, along with the International Blue Crescent.
I'm Michel Lacharite, and I'm the head of the emergency desk for MSF. The earthquake that strike the south Turkey was around the city of Gaziantep. We have some teams in Gaziantep who is coordinating the assistance in northwest Syria. The team is assessing the situation for the population, and what they are seeing at the moment is that everyone is in the street. They are affected by the cold weather, so they are trying to see what is feasible to do for this one.
We have a very limited vision in terms of medical needs. We know that two hospitals are affected by the earthquake. The authorities are doing blood bank collections to take care of the first patient of the day. We're going to know more in the coming days, however, we can say that we are going to focus on shelter distribution, non-food item distribution for blankets, clothes, and all this support in Turkey will be done with our partner, the International Blue Crescent with whom we worked in the last earthquake [in] Izmir, in 2020.
The situation in north Syria is very dramatic. We know that a lot of people are still living in a very bad condition in a precarious shelter, so fortunately these people have less impact from the shelter. The majority of the wounded people are more concentrate in the cities and the more in the northern part of the northwest Syria, such as Al-Bab, Afrin, and Azaz.
MSF is supporting at least eight hospitals to whom we gave medical kits to perform surgical traumatology. We gave them some blankets for the relatives of the patient, and we have a burn unit in Atme City, and some medical staff from this hospital [were sent] to other hospitals to perform trauma surgery.
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