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Direct Relief Disburses $2 Million in Funding for Groups Continuing Earthquake Response in Turkey, Syria

Funds will support specialty surgery services for those injured, mental health services, expanded primary care services and more.


Turkey-Syria Earthquake 2023

Person unloading aid boxes from truck
Direct Relief donated medical aid being delivered at the Hatay Medical Chamber and medical logistical & coordination unit in the destroyed center of Antakya, Turkey, on May 4, 2023. (Photo by Francesca Volpi for Direct Relief)

Direct Relief this week announced the latest round of financial support to local health providers and first responders in Turkey and Syria as the region continues to recover from a devastating series of earthquakes.

The death toll from the Feb. 6, 2023 earthquake has risen to more than 50,000, with more than 200,000 injured. Direct Relief is focused on mental health services and psychosocial support for people impacted by the quakes, maternal and child health, surgery services for those injured and needing rehabilitation, and bolstering primary care services.

This week, Direct Relief committed $2 million in cash support for the earthquake response efforts. This is in addition to $1.9 million already disbursed earlier this year. As part of this week’s commitment, Direct Relief is issuing the following emergency grants:

Financial support for Turkey:

The Association of Public Health Specialists, or HASUDER, will receive $275,000 to expand sexual and reproductive healthcare services to women and children affected by the earthquake in the Hatay region of Turkey. The funds will support the staffing of a physician and two midwives, as well as an Arabic translator to support services to Syrian refugees. The grant will also fund the purchase of a van to provide mobile healthcare services.

The Psychiatric Association of Türkiye will receive $175,000 to deploy volunteer psychiatrists to the earthquake areas to provide psychosocial services for earthquake victims, local first responders, and healthcare workers who have suffered high rates of burnout and PTSD. To ensure that Syrian refugee communities also have access to these services, the organization aims to employ four trained Arabic translators who will base out of refugee settlements in the earthquake zones.

The Turkish Society of Surgery of the Hand and Upper Extremity will receive $100,000 to provide surgical services for people who were injured or disabled by the earthquakes. The project will establish a mobile rehabilitation suite outside of Malatya University Hospital, which has been operating in a limited capacity since the earthquake.

World Human Relief will receive $100,000 to support face-to-face psychological services to those impacted by the earthquakes, and the funding will go toward the purchase of modular units to house part-time staff and hire one full-time staff position focused on capacity building and organizational strategy.

Ankara Medical Chamber will receive $50,000 to establish a fully equipped women’s health center in Malatya Province to be staffed by volunteers from the Ankara Medical Chamber to restore primary care services. To support women living in the surrounding areas, this project includes a rental van to conduct mobile health screenings in rural areas with hospital referral support when necessary.

Financial support for Syria:

Independent Doctors Association will receive $800,000 to train 140 health staff over eight months to strengthen the health system in Syria, purchase healthcare equipment, and strengthen the health management system to ensure efficiency and medical record capacity.

Syria Relief and Development will receive $500,000 to expand medical warehousing capacity in Azaz and Idleb and warehouse management systems to track inventory and distribution. The organization will also be purchasing medical equipment needed to continue health services.

Since the earthquake reverberated throughout the region, Direct Relief has shipped or is shipping more than 429 tons of medical aid for Turkey and Syria, including antibiotics, wound care dressings, protective gear, and other requested medical resources.

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