JOIN members provide emergency aid after earthquake in Turkey and Syria

On 6th February 2023, an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 hit Turkey and Syria, followed by numerous strong aftershocks, last with magnitude 6.3 on 20th February.

Current reports put the number of dead at more than 48,200 and the number of injured at more than 118,000 (as of 21st February). After many international search and rescue teams ended their mission by 22nd February, it is estimated that around 18 Million people have been affected by the disaster and are in need of humanitarian assistance. In some places, the entire infrastructure has been destroyed, making it very difficult for the population to receive supplies.

On 7th February, Johanniter International Assistance deployed an Assessment Team to the affected regions with the aim to identify concrete relief needs in Turkey and Northern Syria in close coordination with local partner organisations. The team conducted situation assessments in cities in Turkey and Syria that were severely affected by the earthquake: Gaziantep, Antakya, Osmaniye, Nurdagi, Islahiye, Reyhanli, Jinderes, Idlib, Afrin and relief activities started in cooperation with local partners in all cities.

On 19th February, another emergency response team arrived in Turkey to replace some members of the first assessment team and expanded the emergency response activities in Turkey and Syria. Two HQ staff and one emergency response volunteer travelled to Turkey accompanied by a photographer. On 21st February, another colleague from the Johanniter Regional Office Middle East joined the team to strengthen the connection to local partners and thus foster medium-and long-term cooperation.


Together with the partner organisation MAPS, Johanniter was providing warm soup to around 15,000 people in Gaziantep every day until the third week of February when they had to temporarily suspend the food distribution, as the premises used for cooking were longer available. New premises are being found, so that food distribution can be resumed.

After 27th February, another kitchen with mobile food distribution for full meals will be set up in the Hatay region. The procurement and compilation of hygiene kits to be distributed to the evacuated population in the Hatay region have been completed by 22nd February.


For days, Johanniter partner MAPS has been providing hot food to 1,000 people in the region around Afrin. This aid is being expanded with Johanniter funds. In the beginning of March, building materials will be delivered to start the repair of damaged houses. Five hospitals received fuel for generators and ambulances to facilitate the provision of medical care, and 600 families received cash to buy the things they need most at the local markets. On 21st February, another assessment was launched in the northwest of Syria to expand Johanniter’s relief efforts with the partner organisation BAHAR.

Emergency Medical Team (EMT):

Johanniter submitted an Expression of Interest for the deployment of the EMT Type 1 mobile through the EMT Coordination Centre to the Turkish Ministry of Health (MoH), which is yet to respond. A deployment can only take place with approval by the MoH.

The volunteer emergency response team has been put on standby with a pre-alarm. The EMT material is ready for possible deployment in the Staging Area Logistics and Training in Frankfurt. Our German member is currently in consultation with the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) regarding a potential joint deployment of the Johanniter EMT and a mobile laboratory of the RKI.

Other activities:
  • The Johanniter Competence Center European Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance delivers medical supplies to Turkey and Syria as part of the rescEU Stockpiling project.
  • Johanniter volunteer Gerhard Jäkel is deployed to Ankara as part of the European Civil Protection Team of Experts.

Other JOIN members are also helping the people affected by the earthquake.

On 15th February, our Hungarian member met with the Turkish Embassy. The following day, about 200 quilts, 200 pillows and 15 pallets (3000 kg) of durable food were delivered to the temporary storage in Dunaharast, followed by 1300 polyfoams.