Surviving war and earthquakes in north-west Syria

Hassan*, a father of eight, is displaced in northwest Syria. Before the war, he had a spacious home with a garden, where he cultivated fruit trees and raised sheep and poultry that provided milk and eggs. Hassan and his family lived a happy life and had everything they needed. 

All of this changed as the war broke out, forcing the family to abandon their home, garden, and animals to escape the intense shelling targeting their city. 

Photo: ©IYD/CARE 

“Our lives turned upside down; we entered a dark nightmare that I don’t think any other people on earth have ever experienced,”

says Hassan, who lost his job after the earthquakes one year ago.

Now, the family relies primarily on humanitarian aid NGOs provide to cover their needs. Instead of their spacious home and beautiful garden filled with fruitful trees, the family has been living in a tent that offers no protection from the summer heat or winter cold and lacks privacy. 

Recently, IYD, one of CARE International‘s partners in Northwest Syria, installed Relief Housing Units provided by Better Shelter and generoulsy donated by the IKEA Foundation.

“In the tent, we had no privacy. Sometimes, I would wake up to find cats inside. This shelter has a locked door, so I can sleep more securely. It does not resemble a tent; I feel like I’m entering a proper room with a door, windows, better sound insulation, and insulation against cold and heat…”. 

Photo: ©IYD/CARE 

Despite the harsh conditions and displacement, Hassan supports his children in continuing their education because, in his opinion, education is the best thing they can acquire. One of his sons is studying medicine, another engineering, and he has a daughter who is a teacher. 

*name changed for anonymity  

About the project

In February 2023, several strong earthquakes struck southern parts of Türkiye and northwest region of Syria. Millions of people lost their homes and more than 59,000 people were killed. Better Shelter shipped 6540 shelters to partners in the region within weeks, supported by the IKEA Foundation.

In partnership with Bahar and Insani Yardimlasma Dernegi (IYD), CARE International distributed 1,737 shelters in northwest Syria. These serve as shelters and as Health and Protection Centers, benefiting a total of 10,244 people. To meet specific needs, CARE supported the distribution and installation of RHUs and made infrastructure improvements such as graveling roads, installing lighting, and establishing sewage/drainage networks. Each RHU was equipped with mattresses and a concrete base for better installation and insulation.