2023 Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria: Report on Oxfam’s response to the disaster

Publication date: 5 February 2024
Author: Dania Kareh, Emine Yilmaz, Wouter Fransen

Khadija utilizes the hygiene supplies she earlier received from Oxfam to help her maintain good hygiene habits.

When a massive earthquake hit southern Türkiye and northern Syria in early February 2023, it affected people in Syria already suffering through more than a decade of war. One of them was Khadija, a married mother of five children whose home was partly destroyed. The family struggled to get clean water, keep warm, find enough food, and meet their basic hygiene needs. Oxfam provided her family with hygiene kits consisting of soap, washing powder, shampoo, menstrual pads, a bucket, and some other items. Oxfam also provided dignity kits with women’s underwear, headscarves, socks, solar lamps, and other items to help women and girls maintain their dignity, hygiene, and safety. “We were in the dark almost every night, but the solar lamp we received gave us some light,” Kadjia said. “It was my favorite item.”

Massive damage from earthquake, aftershocks

The earthquake that hit Kadjia and her family in Syria on February 6th in 2023 also a affected a large area of southern Türkiye and was quite powerful: 7.8 magnitude. Over the coming hours and days, numerous aftershocks continued as the death toll mounted: Nearly 56,000 people were killed, and roughly 10 million were left in urgent need of assistance. 

In the year following the earthquakes, Oxfam KEDV in Türkiye and Oxfam in Syria helped more than 2 million people with clean water, sanitation systems, cash, hygiene items and clothes and blankets, food, and services to help people at risk of gender-based violence. Oxfam KEDV and our partners reached 192,170 of the 500,000 people in Türkiye we are committing to help by 2026. In 2023 in Syria, Oxfam and our partner Syrian Society for Social Development (SSSD), supported 1,852,929 individuals hit hardest by earthquakes across four governorates.

An Oxfam team checks work done to repair damages in the water system caused by the earthquake in Al-Ashrafieh, Aleppo.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene

Türkiye: We supported the repair of municipal water systems that helped more than 80,000 people with access to clean water, and rehabilitated a 3,200 cubic meter water tank in the Kahramanmaraş Temporary Accommodation Center, serving 28,000 people. Oxfam installed 1,285 toilets, installed 731 showers, and 221 toilets optimized for people living with disabilities. We distributed 9,311 hygiene kits, 2,504 hygiene cash vouchers (to help people buy hygiene items), 684 baby kits, and 1,169 elderly kits, 15,641 menstrual and dignity kits/cash vouchers. 

Syria: Oxfam provided safe water by truck to more than 1 million people in shelters. We cleaned water tanks in these collective shelters, which served more than 24,000 people, and installed communal water tanks (filled daily) that served nearly 39,000 people. We made sure the latrines in collective shelters were clean and safe to use, assigning 30 trained latrine attendants in shelters to supervise the cleaning process in addition to providing latrine cleaning kits. This assistance reached 94,124 people. Oxfam helped repair and improve water and sanitation systems serving 2.4 million people.Oxfam trained 63 hygiene promoters who reached 98,366 people, and we distributed essential hygiene items to 326,730 people.

Oxfam hygiene promoters deliver sessions to people living in a shelter in Salah Al-Deen, Aleppo, on how to prevent head lice.

Food and livelihoods

Türkiye: We provided vouchers to 400 households who lost their livelihoods to cover their food and non-food needs; we registered 440 of the most vulnerable households for cash support and we provided 299 farming families with animal feed and distributed 982 seedlings to farmers. 

Syria: To help people cope with high food prices and difficulty accessing food, Oxfam provided cash assistance to 21,341 people affected by the earthquake and among the most vulnerable groups in Aleppo, enabling them to purchase food or to restart businesses. Oxfam repaired and upgraded two bakeries to ensure they could make enough bread for 95,000 people. Repairs at another five bakeries are in process. We also supplied dry yeast to bakeries in Aleppo. The bread from these bakeries indirectly reached 5,629,923 people across four governorates (most of them in Aleppo). 


Safety and protection

Türkiye: Oxfam is working with local government authorities, UN agencies, and the private sector to create and manage nine Women and Children’s Centers (six are established, three more will start in 2024) and three Women's Solidarity Centers that provide psycho-social support and referral services, pre-school education and care services for children, and workshops on income-generating activities for women. These programs reached 1,953 people from households displaced by the earthquake, single parent households, households with pregnant or lactating women, family members living with disabilities, and Syrian refugees. 

Syria: Oxfam provided individual protection assistance to 90 people living with physical or mental disabilities and survivors of gender-based violence. We facilitated the delivery of 17,927 dignity kits to women and girls. Our team worked with 480 adolescent girls in 12 schools in Aleppo, Lattakia, and Hama, discussing topics around menstrual hygiene and gender equality. Our team also distributed menstrual pads and soap to the students. To improve safety and help people survive cold weather, we provided 494 blankets, 10,021 winter kits and solar lights to people in rural Aleppo and Idlib to keep them safe, warm and comfortable, and to ease the financial stress of buying winter clothes.


Cemile Kahraman is living with multiple sclerosis, and works at the Kahramanmaraş Women's Solidarity Center sewing handicrafts.

Recovery and reconstruction continue in 2024

A year after the earthquake, people in Syria and Türkiye are still suffering. At Oxfam, we have shifted from providing live-saving aid to a longer-term recovery plan that seeks to improve and restore lives in the communities affected by the disaster. While the first stage of the response is now largely over, the work to rebuild lives and livelihoods has just begun. 

Türkiye: We’ve now mapped water needs of approximately 20 villages in Adiyaman, and are developing plans to service these villages in 2024. The Women's Coalition in Türkiye, of which Oxfam KEDV is a member, will distribute 3,000 hygiene kits on Oxfam's behalf in Adıyaman in 2024. We will continue to provide cash and material support to women cooperatives and entrepreneurs and women farmers in Türkiye’s rural areas. We continue to distribute winter clothes, and will help ensure refugee- and women-led organizations have a voice in decisions about the ongoing reconstruction process in earthquake-affected areas.

Syria: Our team continues to support people with the assistance they need to survive these difficult times and restore their dignity after a year of hardship and trauma, on top of the ongoing conflict that has destroyed much of the infrastructure in their country.


A man and his two young children get winter supplies like blankets and coats from Oxfam to cope with the cold season.

A man and his two young children get winter supplies like blankets and coats from Oxfam to cope with the cold season.

Local humanitarian leaders

We believe that a humanitarian response can be effective only if it is informed by those closest to the affected communities. In both Türkiye and Syria, we worked closely with local partners: 




Thank you to our donors

We are grateful for the incredible generosity of our donors who make the work of Oxfam and our partners possible. 

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* expense extrapolated for full year, based on actuals by Dec 31   
** actual expense until Dec 31
*** includes business support costs, salaries, travel and MEAL