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“It’s getting really cold … we are so scared”

21 February 2023, Voices from the Field

Voices of children from the earthquake epicentre 

The moments after a disaster can be confusing, especially for children. Young people affected by the recent earthquake in Turkiye (formerly known as Turkey) and Syria share how it’s a terrifying and heartbreaking time.

“We were so scared we left the house”

The earthquake has left many children extremely vulnerable, like 10-year-old Noor. Thousands are without homes - many having fled in the middle of the night with nothing. With the help of donors, Save the Children is supporting temporary shelters, through our partner organisations. 

Families are staying in the shelters and receiving items such as blankets, clothes, emergency supplies and food.

“We slept in the open field for three days”

Iyad, 15, ran out of his home barefoot and without proper clothes on when the tremors started. Now, he and his six family members are living in the back of their car in the fields near his home in Northern Syria. 

Hundreds of other families are also living like this, having lost their homes and belongings. “Everyone is coming here to sleep, there are so many [families],” Iyad says.

“My mother barely managed to pull me out”

Twelve-year-old Ahmad shares his experience trapped under the rubble for almost four hours. With his mum looking on as she recovers from being hurt in the earthquake, Ahmad recalls, “She put me underneath her and the ceiling fell on her.”

Working round the clock to reach children

Randa Ghazy, Regional Media Manager for Save the Children Middle East and North Africa and Eastern Europe, talks about the damage of the earthquake from Hatay, one of the worst affected areas of the earthquake. She shares the work going on around the clock to try and reach children who are experiencing devastating loss and freezing conditions.

“This is a really crucial time to step up international efforts to ensure that these children and their families are safe and to protect their futures at this devastating time,” she says.

Children and their families are in desperate need of food, water, shelter, and warm clothing, with thousands now sleeping outside in freezing winter conditions. In crises like this, children need support to keep them safe and to help them recover and come to terms with what’s happened. Without the right support, the psychological toll on children can be huge.

Save the Children is already responding through our local partners with urgent lifesaving assistance in both Türkiye and Syria. The Children’s Emergency Fund  is essential in times like this. When crisis hits, it allows us to respond immediately for families wherever and whenever they need us around the world.

Donate to our Children's Emergency Fund now to help us be there for children and their families in desperate need in Syria and Türkiye. 

Names have been changed to protect identities.
Photo: Khalil Ashawi / Save the Children.

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