This week, ACT Alliance member Hungarian Interchurch Aid announced its humanitarian programme to support thousands of impacted families in Hatay and Gaziantep, two of the districts hardest hit by the earthquake.
László Lehel, president-director of Hungarian Interchurch Aid, lamented that 45,000 people died under 230,000 collapsed buildings in Türkiye alone.
“Meeting even their most basic needs is unthinkable without a broad international coalition of international and local aid organisations,” said Lehel. “We as Hungarian Interchurch Aid are fully committed to the assistance of the people who’ve lost so much in the recent natural disaster, and call all partners to join our efforts.”
In close cooperation with local partners, Hungarian Interchurch Aid is, among other responses, providing residential and sanitary containers for the survivors living in camps.
Fatme, a beneficiary of Hungarian Interchurch Aid, is living in one of the ad-hoc encampments of Adıyaman. She shares a tent with her six family members, including her autistic son, Gazi.
“We’ll stay in the tents for 10 more years if we have to,” she said. “But it’s inhumane. Look, it’s really hard with Gazi, he can’t get used to this new environment. If we could at least continue life in a container, that would help a lot.”
Hungarian Interchurch Aid is also providing psychological support; setting up winterised tents; and providing drinking water, heating equipment, hygiene kits, mattresses, and blankets.
In addition to the province of Hatay, Hungarian Interchurch Aid will also focus on areas that receive less international attention.
Working closely with the local Christian churches involved in the relief effort, Hungarian Interchurch Aid is supporting their work. An agreement has been reached to support an emergency school in the Iskenderun Orthodox Church, which will provide safe supervision and education in a dangerous environment for around 150 children with nowhere else to go.
“ACT Alliance members began responding to the needs of the survivors of the earthquake immediately” says Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, general secretary of ACT Alliance. “Hungarian Interchurch Aid’s programme in Türkiye will continue the work that churches are doing in both countries. Churches are part of the communities they serve, and will continue to support the most vulnerable as part of our commitment to ecumenical diakonia.”