Lifesaving Response to Earthquakes in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic

Frequently Asked Questions
  • WHO is coordinating the work of two Regional Offices (Europe and Eastern Mediterranean), and its country offices in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic, as well as coordinating the response of hundreds of other international and local organizations from its field office in Gaziantep near the earthquake’s epicenter. 

    In the Syrian Arab Republic, WHO is delivering emergency supplies and working to ensure that hospitals and other health facilities that are intact have the necessary equipment and personnel to provide care to those injured in the earthquakes and aftershocks. WHO has also deployed medical supplies to Türkiye’s Ministry of Health and other partners, including surgical supplies, medicines and water disinfection tablets. WHO will remain focused on providing technical assistance to local health authorities to assess the damage to health facilities, identify the most pressing needs and provide training for healthcare workers and first responders.

  • WHO’s role in  coordinating the health response to emergencies is unique. Across the world, WHO works with partners in countries to both prepare for and respond to emergencies. WHO has a global presence and the technical expertise of how to respond to the needs of communities experiencing health emergencies.

    WHO’s support began even before this emergency   by working with partners and national and local governments to prepare to respond to emergencies. WHO does this by stockpiling supplies at its distribution hub in Dubai and providing training for healthcare workers.WHO has a long-term presence in both Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic which enabled its immediate response. This presence and established relationships allow WHO to play a unique role as a long-trusted partner in responding to emergencies. 

    • WHO has been working with partners in the Syrian Arab Republic on the ground as part of the protracted humanitarian crisis there. In addition to providing supplies and medicines, WHO with local health partners to prevent and contain disease outbreaks. 
    • WHO was able to respond quickly because it had already purchased and stockpiled emergency health supplies in preparation for a humanitarian crisis in the region.
    • WHO has been able to mobilize emergency medical teams of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and paramedics that are providing direct clinical care.
    • WHO is training health workers to ensure that the healthcare system can provide care for as many people as possible.
  • People urgently need medical care for their injuries. Surgical expertise is particularly important during the first days and weeks following a disaster. In addition, threats to health include acute respiratory distress caused by dust inhalation and hypothermia caused by exposure to cold winter temperatures and rain. Mental health and psychosocial support are also essential.

  • Hospitals and other medical facilities have been damaged and will need additional supplies and support to maintain health services now and will need to be repaired or rebuilt entirely in the near future. The Syrian Arab Republic is experiencing protracted civil war and resulting humanitarian crisis and will need support to stop existing outbreaks of cholera and measles. WHO will be working closely with the ministries of health in both the Syrian Arab Republic and Türkiye to ensure the continuity of healthcare services.

  • Contributions to the WHO Foundation will be channelled directly to WHO and will be used to:

    • Purchase critical health emergency supplies including trauma kits, surgical supplies, and medication 
    • Deploy emergency medical teams 
    • Sustain health systems 
    • Providing health services to the most vulnerable 
    • Prevent, monitor and respond to disease outbreaks
  • The WHOF will transfer all amounts received to WHO. According to sanction regulations, WHO is considered a specialized agency of the United Nations. Therefore funds for this Appeal, used for humanitarian relief, qualify for sanctions exemptions in most countries applying sanctions against the Arabic Republic of Syria.

    • The WHO Foundation is working hard to avoid donations  from being blocked or delayed within the global financial system, but cannot guarantee that all funding will be received in due time. Therefore, the WHOF is applying two mitigating factors: As a Swiss Foundation, the WHO Foundation prefers to receive donations in Euro or Swiss Francs. However, donations in other currencies are still possible on our online platform. 
    • If funds are blocked and delays during the donation process do not allow the WHO Foundation to transfer your donation to WHO Lifesaving Response to Earthquakes in Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic, your donation will be allocated to WHO’s Contingency Fund for Emergency (CFE). The CFE was used to pay the initial emergency expenses for the earthquake response  and will be used for similar urgent appeals, in which WHO plays a strategic role to deliver rapid, critical health care to people in need.
  • Established in 2020 as an independent entity, the WHO Foundation complements and strengthens the work of WHO and its global network of partners by mobilizing new funding from diverse sources—including foundations, corporations and the general public—to power WHO’s mission. By addressing the world’s most urgent health issues in a new, transformative, catalytic way, the WHO Foundation aims to provide everyone, everywhere, a healthier, more equitable future.