Earthquake Relief: Continuing To Help Those In Need
We’ve had a busy couple of months, and we hope to provide updates in coming weeks summarizing everything going on out here. Specifically, we’ve now had over half a dozen separate relief events and outreaches in cities throughout Syria impacted by the February 2023 earthquake that killed over 50,000 people and left millions homeless in Syria and Turkey.
Ongoing Direct Relief Aid To Quake-Hit Regions
We thank the Lord that the door has remained open to keep providing aid to Syrians suffering from the loss of their homes, jobs and loved ones in the quake. We’ve been able to continue providing food, clothes and medical aid via our direct contacts and partners in the country.
Since beginning the quake relief efforts, we’ve had five major outreaches to the northern region and two to the central Damascus area where many quake refugees fled to. We also added in smaller outreaches to some west-central rural/city areas in the country with deep poverty. While there are thousands upon thousands of families throughout Syria in great need, we’ve had to focus in on specific communities we have connections to, and help the hundreds of people there we are in regular contact with. Our current approach is to balance helping people we already have helped so that we can have regular follow up, while expanding to new families identified in the same areas with legitimate needs.
There are still many families in the northern region without homes, living in makeshift tents in the open fields of their neighborhoods. These are some of the most vulnerable Syrians. They often make barely enough from odd jobs and manual labor (if there is any) to just buy bread for the day. They are deeply thankful when our people bring them something as basic as a bag of food.
Many will say that they’ve received little to no help from their own religious and governmental institutions, and they are amazed that an evangelical church is the first group to reach them with substantial help. They will often question our helpers “Why are you bringing aid here when there are no Christians? Why help us when we are not part of your religion?” This provides a great opportunity for our helpers to share with them the reason for the Hope that is within them, and how their love to Christ compels them to help ALL those in need, not just those in their own religion.
In addition to the initial 5 tons of relief aid we were able to bring in by truck to needy families in Aleppo, our helpers have also been able to provide ongoing, smaller-scale help to families in recent months:
- Over 170 food parcels for poor families affected/displaced by the quake
- Medications for almost 50 people suffering from acute or chronic conditions
- Full sets of clothing for over 45 children and adults in quake-affected areas
- Over 60 pairs of shoes or sandals for children and adults who had no functional footwear
- Other general financial/material assistance for over a dozen families
New Opportunities To Help With New Needs; Helping the Lame Walk and the Deaf Hear!
As we’ve had people on the ground in Syria helping various communities, trust is being built up. People are coming to us with new needs that we did not know about before, specifically medical needs. When Jesus was on Earth, his ministry included helping the lame to walk and the deaf to hear. He did this miraculously to show His power and compassion. While we are not performing miracles out here like He did, we still find that we can help the lame walk and deaf hear through direct medical assistance, and the show of compassion is the same!
We encountered a young girl in need of surgery to help her walk. This was not due to the earthquake, but we encountered this family while helping them with relief aid due to their needs from the earthquake. After several trips back and forth, we were able to help coordinate funds for spinal surgery and have people at the hospital to make sure all went well. The family was overjoyed! The surgery is related to problems with deformities in her spine and lower back from birth. The hope is when she heals she can begin rehab to help her walk.
We also encountered a young 9 year old boy in the Syrian quake areas who was deaf, and had no functional hearing aid. He’d not had a working one for years. The family was struggling to make ends meet after the quake, and had no hope of helping him to hear again. We were able to work with doctors we know here to validate the need and device type, and get him the hearing aid he needed. When he first put on the hearing aid, our helpers say his face lit up with joy at being able to hear again. The whole house erupted with happy chatter as he was able to talk to them, and hear their replies. They welcomed our contact there to return anytime in the future, and were greatly open to hearing the reason why we did these things for Christ’s name.
Pray For Future Efforts In a Changing Dynamic
The needs and dynamic are changing in Syria compared to initial months. People are finding ways to either leave or scrape by. While there are still many in tents, there are less than before. Homes are not necessarily being rebuilt yet, but many are relocating to other areas or are reluctantly going back in to half-crumbled structures in hopes that no future quake will bring it down.
Some of the urgency is behind us, but in a country already destroyed by over a decade of war, this earthquake set them back even further. It will likely take a decade or more to rebuild what’s been lost, and we do not anticipate the long term needs or opportunities to serve while disappear anytime soon.
Our hope is to continue helping with needs there as long as the door remains open to do so. While these communities try to rebuild and emerge from the rubble, we hope to continue building inroads with them and see what the Lord will do with that. Seed is being sown via help with these needs. Though in very early stages, and in a very dark land, the Lord is making a way for light to shine. Thank you to all who continue to pray and support these endeavors.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. This is a work bigger than any of us, but not bigger then God or His church! If you wish to be involved in any way, you can support TGI via our site, sign up for our relief updates e-mail newsletter to better know how to pray, or contact us if you are interested in knowing more about how to be personally involved.