Turkey/Syria Earthquake Relief
For the last few years, the NAB has been developing an ongoing relationship with Horizons International, an organization with people and connections in both Turkey and Syria, including national pastors and leaders. This relationship has been growing and developing since Kerry Bender, VP of International Missions; Randy Schmor, director of Gateway; and Dana Goodnough, regional minister for the Easter Association, completed a vision trip to Horizons in 2020.
In the wake of the February 6 earthquake affecting both Turkey and Syria, Horizons has been providing aid as soon as aid groups were allowed to. This is what Horizons had to say about the relief work after this tragedy:
So far, we have done two distributions on the ground (one in Antakya, Turkey, and one in Aleppo, Syria) through partners with whom we have long-term relationships, and additionally we are preparing for four different field teams of our staff members to enter the area – two from the Turkey side and from from the Syrian side of the border. The two teams going to southern Turkey are our Turkish staff members, and the two teams going to northern Syria are coming from Lebanon. One of these teams is made up of two of our Syrian Kurdish staff members, who are both pastors of our Kurdish church in Lebanon, and they are going into Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria where non-Kurds don’t have access to go. They are working closely with our sister church in Syria, also a Kurdish church. The other team going from Lebanon is made up of eight Lebanese staff members who are driving up to Syria on Monday and have secured a permit to drive one of our Horizons Lebanon vans into Syria. They are coordinating closely with several evangelical churches, including Baptist, Alliance, and Nazarene churches, and will be helping with and supervising distribution of aid. One of them is a nurse and will be providing medical assistance as well. So, thankfully, we have a great group of indigenous staff members who are able to get into the hard-hit areas.
We are blessed to be able to partner with Horizons in their relief effort. Thank you for your prayer and financial support.
Stories from Horizons staff
Iskenderun & Antakya, Turkey
The situation in the region is one of the most serious. Only 5% of the buildings are still standing. Almost all of the buildings that have not been destroyed are heavily damaged. There are also serious problems in entering and exiting the region. For this reason, the service is progressing a little slower in this region. There is no suitable storage area for incoming aid. For this reason, the church in Iskenderun and a rented warehouse in Adana will serve as aid collection and distribution centers and all aid will be transferred to the region from there. At the same time, since there is no suitable area to set up a tent city, the provision of tents is currently on hold and efforts are being made to supply tents in the meantime. At the same time, since the debris work in the region is not completed, no one wants to leave their relatives or not be able to go to funerals. For this reason, those who have nowhere to go will emerge in 10 days and our real service will start after that. And the region will need more support and help, especially when the news crews leave and people’s excitement fades.
Electricity is still cut in the region and everyone is staying outside. Six tents have been set up, but they are insufficient. The cold weather is still active and therefore there is a need. They have food for now, but it is not enough for a long period of time.
Villages have started to be evacuated because there are cracks in the dam and there is a danger of the dam overflowing.
In the search and rescue efforts in the region, a deaf and mute believer was pulled alive from the rubble. A hot meal service is being provided with the Arabic speaking community from Istanbul. They are also trying to determine the needs in Gaziantep provinces and districts and try to help.
The number of destroyed buildings is approximately 540, and there are 1,300 heavily damaged buildings. The city is 20% evacuated, and the rest are staying in their vehicles and on the streets. AFAD (Turkiye’s disaster relief organization) is distributing tents, but they usually do not meet the needs due to their quality and cold weather conditions. Nearly 1,800 blankets were distributed by churches in the region. They are also distributing food and hygiene supplies.
There is still a need for clean drinking water as there is no clean water from the taps. And there is also a need for outside food supply. There is a need for toilets; public places like mosques are damaged so they cannot use them.
There is information that AFAD is doing a good distribution in the region. For this reason, it is aimed to take aid to remote places outside the center. We are especially trying to go to remote villages where AFAD has not yet delivered aid to meet the needs. A total of 10 tents were distributed. Incoming materials are delivered to those in need in the fastest way possible. The aid materials that arrive in the morning are distributed before the evening.
Other ways to give
Checks: Make payable to North American Baptists, Inc.; write “Turkey/Syria” in the memo line.
US mailing address:
North American Baptists, Inc.
P.O. Box 102493
Pasadena, CA 91189-2493
Canadian mailing address:
North American Baptists, Inc.
PO Box 57235 Station A,
Toronto, ON M5W 5M5
Text to Give: Text your gift amount followed by “Turkey” (e.g., 100 Turkey) to one of the following numbers:
- For US donations, (916) 249-0534
- For Canadian donations, (204) 400-2238
Click here for more detailed instructions on how to text to give.
Please continue to pray and join us in this important Kingdom relief effort!