Türkiye-Syria earthquake one year after

Uncle Ömer

Photo: Tarek Satea/CARE

Uncle Ömer is from the Boğaziçi neighbourhood in Islahiye, Türkiye. He lives in a Better Shelter unit provided by CARE, and donated by the IKEA Foundation, with his wife and 30-year-old son.  

“My house is majorly damaged and will be demolished. Thankfully, we received this shelter. May God bless all crafters and donors, and may God rest the deceased in peace, and bless those who survived.

Immediately after the earthquake of that cold night on February 6th, we had to stay outside for five to six days. We could not find shelter. At first, we found some tents, but thankfully, we soon received this shelter, which is better than a container.

“Now, I’m considering making a partial division to separate the room and make a kitchen. We are grateful”.  

Mehmet Ali

Photo: Tarek Satea/CARE

Mehmet Ali lives in the Boğaziçi district in Islahiye, Gaziantep. He has three children; they are eight, 13 and 16 years old.

“The earthquake was a disaster, too grand for it to be called just an earthquake.”

Mehmet Ali is a driver, but since the earthquake, he does not work as he claims that everything has stopped functioning. His children were terrified when the quake happened; the house was damaged, and they still can not live in it. The family bathes, visits the restroom, and cooks there, but they all sleep in the shelter (Better Shelter).

“Before we received this shelter, we lived in a tent, but it was difficult because of the heat and cold. We are pleased with this shelter; it is airy and spacious, and we can say it is close to resembling a house.”

Responding to Türkiye’s earthquakes: CARE Türkiye’s emergency relief efforts

In February 2023, Türkiye was struck by a series of devastating earthquakes, impacting 11 cities and causing widespread destruction. Millions of people lost their homes and more than 55,000 people were killed in Türkiye and Syria. Better Shelter shipped over 6600 shelters to partners like CARE in the region within weeks, supported by the IKEA Foundation and other donors.

CARE Türkiye initiated emergency response efforts following the earthquakesand worked in partnership with Better Shelter and coordinated with AFAD (the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency) to provide shelters to affected communities.

Recognising the urgent need for shelter in the hardest-hit city of Hatay, where 90% of buildings were heavily damaged, CARE Türkiye established an office to address the significant demand for housing. Governmental emergency response coordinators oversaw coordination efforts, adapting to the dynamic and evolving situation on the ground. The Relief Housing Units (RHUs) gained popularity for their design, durability, and ease of setup.

The provision of reliable shelter solutions like RHUs proved instrumental in meeting the immediate needs of affected communities and offering a sense of safety and stability amidst adversity.