February 7th 2023

After the severe earthquake on the night of Feb. 5-6 that struck Syria and Turkey, the situation remains dramatic. The Cathedral in Iskenderun has collapsed. Bishop Paolo Bizzeti SJ, Bishop of Anatolia in Eastern Turkey, was out of the country at the time but is organising help. Antuan Ilgit SJ is on the spot and is organizing relief for his parishioners. The situation is fluid and constantly being updated. The surrounding picture is bleak: collapsed or uninhabitable hospitals, lack of electricity, broken or very difficult connections.

We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and communities affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey” said Fr Arturo Sosa. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, homes, and communities. We pray for the swift and safe recovery of all those who have been injured and for the comfort of those who have been impacted by this disaster”.

In Aleppo, the community of three Jesuits fled their house after the first earthquake and joined the other residents of Aleppo in the freezing cold through the night. Many houses have collapsed. People refuse to return to their homes out of fear of other earthquakes. The Society has opened up our building in Aziziyé to people looking for shelter. It is a house well built. JRS is leading the Jesuit response. They have already launched an appeal for funds.

Irish Jesuit Fr Tony O’Riordan says: “I am just arriving in Aleppo to lead JRS needs assessment and early response. Sustaining life and health is our immediate priority, and we will seek to reopen our health clinics once buildings are cleared by engineers later today. and we will continue to ramp up our support of basic protection again the cold and elements for people unable to return home. Helping people remain resilient mentally will be a second priority”.

Turkey: More information and links for donations at www.amo-fme.org

Syria: More information and links for donations at JRS {Click Here}. For donations from the USA click here

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