A year has passed since the devastating earthquakes struck Syria and Turkey, leaving a trail of destruction and loss. The impact of this catastrophe has been particularly severe in northwest Syria, a region already grappling with a decade-long humanitarian crisis. As the world marks this solemn anniversary, humanitarian organizations and activists are coming together to shed light on the ongoing struggles faced by communities in northwest Syria.
Earlier this week an event, Rebuilding Hope: A Year After the Syria-Turkey Earthquake, was held at the Djam Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London. The event, organized by the Syrian British Consortium, Hands Up Foundation, and SOAS Syria Society, aimed to address the deficiencies within the international humanitarian assistance framework and highlight the pivotal roles played by humanitarian actors both inside Syria and the diaspora.
The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Yasmine Nahlawi from the Syrian British Consortium, featured prominent speakers who have been actively involved in the relief efforts. Monir Mustafa, a board member and Vice President for Humanitarian Operations at Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets), shared insights into the response of the White Helmets and other Syrian institutions to the disaster. Raya Homsi, a Syrian humanitarian and human rights activist, provided valuable perspectives from her 11 years of experience, emphasizing the urgent need for continued support and awareness. Rose Essam, the CEO of Hands Up Foundation, highlighted the inadequacy of aid allocated to Syria and stressed the necessity of generating vital funds to support ongoing relief efforts.
Fuad Sayed Issa, founder of Violet Organization, a Syrian refugee-led charity, also participated in the event, emphasizing the importance of localizing the capabilities of local institutions to respond to disasters and the necessity of recovery steps to support affected communities.
The panelists addressed the challenges faced by Syrians post-earthquakes, the role of humanitarian actors within the country, as well as the urgent need for continued support and awareness. The event not only aimed to raise awareness but also sought to generate vital funds to support ongoing relief efforts in Syria. Hands Up Foundation launched an urgent appeal to raise £25,000 to keep their medical center in northwest Syria open for its 50,000 patients and to support vulnerable women and girls.
This event served as a platform to highlight the ongoing humanitarian consequences of the earthquakes and to call for sustained support for the affected communities. As Syria continues to grapple with the aftermath of this disaster, the international community needs to come together and ensure that the challenges faced by these communities are not forgotten. The resilience and determination of the Syrian people, coupled with the support of humanitarian organizations and activists, offer a glimmer of hope in the face of immense adversity.