Published 15 February 2023

Solidarity with the Turkish and Syrian people

SALAR International would like to express sympathy and solidarity with the Turkish and Syrian people, our partners (the Turkish Municipal Union UMT, the Regional Municipal Unions of Marmara (MMU) and Çukurova (CMU)) and especially to those who were affected by the deadly earthquake that affected Türkiye and Syria.

On Monday a number of earthquakes, the largest of 7.7 on the Richter scale hit southeastern Türkiye and northern Syria, and over a hundred aftershocks have been recorded. The epicenter was in the city of Kahramanmaraş near the border with Syria. Today, February 9th, over 15,000 people have been confirmed dead, but the number is expected to rise as rescue teams and equipment struggle to get there as roads are impassable. The situation is further aggravated by unusually cold weather with several degrees below zero.

Close to 1 000 000 Syrian refugees live in the area, many of them in already difficult conditions. With funding from Sida, SALAR International supports municipalities in Türkiye and Lebanon that have received millions of refugees from Syria through the Resilience in Local Governance (Reslog) project. Several of the project's Turkish cooperation municipalities in the Çukurova region are badly affected. Our colleagues and partners in Türkiye are safe, and our team is trying to connect with all employees in the municipalities. So far, we have been in contact with all municipalities. However, we have received reports of major material damage, for example the city hall in Hatay which no longer exists.

SALAR International will continue to give the best possible support to our Turkish partners and their member municipalities during this difficult time.