KAHRAMANMARAS, Turkey (BP) – More than 20,000 are dead following two major earthquakes that rocked southern Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6. Thousands are injured and millions of people have been affected by the disaster.
In Turkey alone, more than 64,000 have been injured as a result of the quakes and aftershocks, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
He said nearly 7,000 structures have been damaged or destroyed.
Officials from both countries say dozens of countries are assisting in recovery and relief efforts.
Send Relief, the compassion ministry of the SBC, is among the groups offering help.
“The most pressing immediate needs for impacted communities are access to food, clean water, trauma care, temporary shelter, medical care and evacuation,” said Jason Cox, Send Relief vice president of international ministry.
Cox said workers have distributed 1,000 blankets and 5,000 bottles of water to those in need.
Officials say pressing needs are weather related as so many have been left without shelter in the midst of winter.
“Pray for those needing shelter in the freezing weather conditions, which endanger survivors and complicate rescue and recovery efforts. And pray for so many grieving over this unimaginable tragedy,” Cox said.
In a Twitter post Feb. 9, IMB President Paul Chitwood said the disaster was exacerbated by the existing humanitarian crisis in Syria.
“The quake hit a region where 4.1m, mostly women & kids, already depended on humanitarian aid,” Chitwood tweeted.
According to UNICEF, a 12-year civil war makes “the Syrian crisis the largest displacement crisis in the world.”
Send Relief has created a page where people can make financial gifts for recovery efforts as well as a slide churches can use in public services and on social media to point people to the webpage.
It has also released a prayer guide for Christians to use as they lift up those who are suffering.
“As we continue to assess and begin to respond, we’re also praying that every effort will bring both physical help and the hope of Christ in this dark time,” Cox said.
The prayer guide offers several points, including these three:
- Three major airports were damaged in the earthquakes, which has severely limited international rescue and relief efforts. Pray that roads and runways would be opened soon so that help can arrive swiftly.
- In Syria, the areas impacted were already experiencing severe shortages of food, water, electricity, and heat. With over four million internally displaced peoples in the affected region of Syria, the casualties are expected to be great. Pray for the few believers in this area to show the love of Christ to their neighbors.
- In Turkey, pray for the local churches and believers to respond as the hands and feet of Christ. Pray for Turks who are feeling lost and hopeless – that the God who Sees would meet them where they’re at and reveal the unending love of Christ.