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Emergency Response Charter Flight Touches Down in Turkey

Largest single shipment to Syria in Direct Relief's history landed in the region on Monday. The medical aid will support a health system that has been stressed by civil conflict and devastating earthquakes last month.


Turkey-Syria Earthquake 2023

Medical aid arrives in Adana, Turkey, on March 27, 2023. The shipments will be trucked over the Syrian border in the coming days to support health facilities in earthquake-impacted areas. (Brea Burkholz/Direct Relief)

A 75-ton charter plane carrying requested medical aid has landed in Adana, Turkey, completing the longest leg of its journey. It will be trucked to health facilities in Syria in the coming days to support health needs after last month’s devastating earthquake shook the region.

The shipment includes specifically requested medications for diabetes and hypertension, antibiotics, a cholera treatment kit, which can treat more than 100 patients, adult and children’s vitamins, pain relievers, hygiene items for displaced people, wound care supplies, orthopedic braces, PPE, and more.

The supplies will be distributed among the Syrian American Medical Society, Independent Doctors Association, and Syria Relief and Development, all of which provide health care services in northwestern Syria and have been responding since the 7.8- and 7.5-magnitude earthquakes on Feb. 6.

The 747 charter departed Los Angeles on March 26, and the pallets will be trucked to the Syrian border and transported by UN vehicles for distribution to Aleppo and Idleb governorates. A second cargo plane charter has been scheduled for the first week in April, with supplies heading to support recovery efforts in Turkey through the Ministry of Health.


With the death toll reaching 50,000 last week and more than 2.2 million people currently displaced, the recovery effort continues as both countries work to fill gaps in the medical supply chain and healthcare systems – impacts being felt even more significantly in northwestern Syria, where critical infrastructure and services were already lacking due to ongoing conflict.

In the immediate hours following the earthquakes, Direct Relief began assessing needs on the ground. Through communication and coordination with the Ministry of Health of Turkey, as well as several nonprofit medical organizations in both Syria and Turkey, Direct Relief was able to provide critically needed funding to assist with search and rescue efforts within the first 24 hours while simultaneously working to assess medical aid needs.

Current needs in this stage of the recovery process are antibiotics, wound care supplies, prosthetics, medication for diabetes, hypertension, cancer, maternal/pediatric health, cholera treatment, mental health trauma care, and support for doctors and other healthcare staff working and volunteering to provide medical care in the affected regions.


Sunday’s flight and the charter scheduled next week reflect the concern and personal support from people in over 90 countries and the same from multiple companies that have generously issued their support.

The Turkey-Syria earthquake response reflects the broadest geographic reach of philanthropic support for any response in Direct Relief’s 75-year history, with supporters from more than 90 countries worldwide. Direct Relief has received $14 million for the Turkey and Syria earthquake response, of which $5.2 million has been committed/spent so far.

Direct Relief has provided more than $57 million of donated medicines and medical supplies since February 6.
In addition to continuous deployments of medical aid, Direct Relief has infused cash grant support to local organizations scaling up to meet the needs of the moment. More than $2.6 million in financial aid has been committed.

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