In the early morning hours of a Monday, a disastrous 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Syria, causing immense damage to the already war-torn country. The two major earthquakes were heavily felt in Aleppo and Latakia. The catastrophe pushed countless families to the brink, leaving them homeless within minutes. At 4:17 am, people's lives were completely changed, people had to flee into the streets amid heavy rain and strong winds. It was a heartbreaking moment and the impact of the earthquakes went beyond physical damage, it left psychological and mental effects on almost everyone affected especially for the most vulnerable members of society that were left traumatized and struggling to cope with the aftermath of the disaster.
In response to the emergency, churches and faith-based organizations opened their doors to receive people who had lost their homes due to collapse or significant damage. The CHC team sprang into action, with volunteers working tirelessly to support families residing in the shelters. In total, around 21 churches received people from all parishes for overnight stays. In Aleppo, more than 10,000 Christians had to leave their homes and take refuge in shelters, while in Latakia more than 1700 Christians were displaced.
From February 6th to February 14th, a period of eight days, with the contributions of L'Œuvre d'Orient, the team managed to distribute hot meals three times a day to 15 shelters in Aleppo and 6 shelters in Lattakia. The meals distributed varied from sandwiches to pies, depending on what was available in the market. A total of 42,695 meals were distributed in Aleppo and 1,743 meals in Lattakia.
Moreover, in Lattakia, blankets and food baskets were also distributed through donations from L'Œuvre d'Orient in a quick response to the dire situation in the area where many people had evacuated their homes; staying warm and food scarcity were major issues.