Baby born in the aftermath of the earthquakes
© UNHCR/Saad Sawas
Location icon Syria and Türkiye

Surviving disaster: A mother’s story of giving birth during the Syrian earthquakes

Sally’s story of giving birth amidst the chaos of the Syrian earthquakes highlights the desperate and dangerous situation many displaced people are faced with.

On February 6, two powerful earthquakes struck northern Syria, dealing another blow to a vulnerable local population who have suffered more than a decade of war. The stress sent Sally into premature labour.

“The earthquakes in February made me scared and anxious which caused preterm labour,” said Sally. “[I went] into labour before the due date.”

Thankfully baby Khodor was born safely.  Since his arrival, Sally and her family have been living in Nahr Al-Bared, in the north-western Hama region of Syria, in a school that was converted into a makeshift collective shelter for families who lost their homes. Most have nothing but the clothes they are wearing, having left everything behind as they fled their homes. The shelter is overcrowded, and basic needs such as food, water, and sanitation are scarce. The new family shares one room with 38 other people.

“It is very difficult to live in this room with little Khodor. He is just two months old and could easily get sick,” said Sally. “I feel helpless. Only God know what we have to deal with.” 

Despite the difficult circumstances, the family remains determined to provide the best life possible for Khodor. His father works tirelessly to ensure that his son has enough food and clean water, and Sally strives to create a safe and comfortable space for him in the crowded shelter. 

Teams from UNHCR and its partner the Syrian Arab Red Crescent have been able to deliver much-needed aid to those sheltering in many collective shelters like this. Your support of our Earthquake Emergency Appeal has enabled UNHCR to provide essential relief items to families like Sally’s.

How is UNHCR supporting people in Türkiye and Syria? 

Thanks to your generosity, UNHCR is providing families displaced by the devastating earthquakes with shelter and other basic supplies such as blankets and hygiene items. UNHCR is also providing protection services such as psychological support and counselling. Since the earthquakes, UNHCR has provided hundreds of thousands of tents, beds, mattresses, thermal blankets and other vital supplies to survivors in both countries. 

UNHCR has been able to provide over 1.3 million core relief items to Turkish authorities, municipalities and partners, including:

  • 187,000 sleeping items  (blankets and sleeping bags)
  • 91,300 beds and bedding
  • 34,700 tents
  • 72,600 hygiene kits
  • 443,800 sanitary items
  • 45,00 clothing items
  • 41,500 kitchen sets.

* These figures relate to relief provided in Türkiye

Disasters of this scale have far-reaching impacts and it will take years to rebuild. With your support, we can reach more families and help them get back on their feet.


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