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Eastern Turkey Earthquake Response


Lana Duoibes
Associate Director, Refugee & Short-Term Ministries

Eastern Turkey Earthquake Response

The massive earthquake in Eastern Turkey claimed over 42,000 lives and displaced 2.4 million people, it devastated the region. Syria and Lebanon were also affected by the magnitude of this event. Please pray for those who have lost loved ones and for those still waiting to hear.

We are not currently collecting relief funds. However, Calvary has several partners in the area and is giving to relief efforts as God leads, through funds that have already been generously provided.

In this time of disaster, we hold fast to God’s promise in Psalm 46:1-2, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.”


from Calvary Partners in Turkey

Two months have passed since earthquakes began to rock eastern Turkey. Since the first days after the tragedy many brothers and sisters in Turkey have been serving in the earthquake zone. They are so thankful for you who have helped them serve through your gifts and prayers. A main focus now is supplying secure all-weather housing for earthquake victims. Here is the story of one of the families who was helped through your giving: We were sleeping in tents on the side of the street and making small fires to keep warm. It is still cold at night, and one 80-year-old aunt in our family was sleeping in the tent with us. The earthquake tremors just keep coming. We are thankful to be alive, but we are so disappointed that there is no help from expected places. We cannot sleep well and are exhausted and in shock. The continuing earthquakes are terrifying.

After supplying the family with a housing container, our workers in Turkey write: Thanks to your help, this family and others now have a safe place to call their own. They were so happy to have a secure place to sleep, and thankful for the practical help. This family is well-known in the community and were aware of other families’ needs. Our teammates brought supplies for them and others in their neighborhood. At the end, with the great relationship we had, we were able to share the Gospel of John with them. They accepted it gratefully and said they would read it. Please pray that their whole family would come to know Jesus!

Your giving has also sponsored children’s activities in a tent city in the earthquake zone. Our Turkish brothers and sisters write: We are organizing activities to help children who survived the trauma of the earthquake. There are 60 children and 20 teenagers and their families (300 people in all). We pray that the kids will be filled with hope and joy and be able to live better with the pain and trial they experienced and continue to live with. We hope and pray for open doors to talk further with families afterwards. When we learned that the daily meals supplied to the families living in this tent city had small portions and was low in nutrition, we were immediately able to also pass on funds so the children could have a nutritious lunch. May God feed them physically and spiritually.

Distributions of hygiene and clothing items continue.

The faithful service of God’s people is giving a powerful testimony to those who need hope. The Lord is using relief efforts, sponsored by the God’s people from around the world, to shine the light of Jesus in places where care is much needed. Thank you for being part of this with us.

Scriptures to consider while praying:

  • Psalm 46:1-2, God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed
  • Psalm 57: 1-2,  Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purposes for me

Previous Updates

“We know that God works for good in all things through those who love him, have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

With these verses we would like to greet you and wish you peace. Unfortunately, the death toll in the earthquake centered in Turkey has reached over 48,000. There is still a need for drinking water, showers and toilets, shelter and partially nutrition in the region. Due to the arrival of the spring season, the rainy season has started in the region. This poses a problem for people staying in tents. The aftershocks in the region continue to cause great fear for the people and they are unable to enter their homes even if their houses are intact.

What can we say as the Church of Turkey about all these situations? Obviously, our words are very inadequate in the wake of this pain, this absence and our losses. As members of the Church of Turkey, the greatest truth we can take refuge in is the Word of God and the promise of His Word. Our God is active for good in every situation. Trusting in this word, having the hope of seeing God’s hand of mercy behind it, increases our strength and makes us forget our weariness. All the brothers and sisters who have visited the region have had the same impression: Despair, sorrow, poverty, frustration and more… The greatest power we have against these feelings and phenomena is mercy. Showing the goodness of God has become the common goal and purpose of the Churches of Turkey.

As the Churches of Turkey, we want to continue to stand by our people together. With your prayers and support, the Churches of Turkey will continue to be with the people in need in the region.

Volunteer brothers and sisters from many different churches are continuing their ministry in Adıyaman. In the coming weeks, plans are being made to build a container city. Approximately 200 container cities will be built in this region. Ancient Churches and their congregations are also active in the region. In particular, members of the Assyrian Church will build an activity tent for children in Adıyaman. There is a general need for shoes, slippers, feminine hygiene products, cleaning supplies and basic foods.


In the city of Antakya (Antioch), where almost every building was damaged in the earthquake, valuable members of the Church of Turkey continue their voluntary assistance in every region. In Antakya Center, transportation is provided to earthquake victims, especially those who need tents, and their aid needs are met. The tent and food warehouse established in Adana has been moved to Antakya and all logistic shipments have started to be sent and received within this city. In addition, the soup kitchen in Antakya, which provides three meals a day and has the capacity to serve 15,000 people daily, continues to serve meals to the people of the region every day. In the center of Antakya, there is an ongoing need for food supplies and food aid is needed to ensure regular meals.


Sunday worship in Adıyaman Sunday worship in Antakya (left)

In Iskenderun district, churches, especially from the city of Istanbul, continue to serve. The Iskenderun Bible Church is still used as an aid distribution warehouse. Approximately 150 tents have been set up through these churches. In addition, a tent activity center for children’s ministry has been set up and brothers and sisters who are experts in children’s ministry are taking care of this center. In Iskenderun city citer, the need for blankets, pillows, etc. for the tents continues.

In Samandağ district, supplies are being distributed, toys for children continue to be provided for. Dry food, cleaning supplies, underwear and blankets are still needed in the region.

There are some brothers and sisters in the region who found pieces of Bibles among the ruins. Although there were no Christians in that apartment building as far as we know, it was very encouraging to know that some people had Bibles and were reading them. We hope that the number of people who have found Christ in Kahramanmaraş is much higher than we know!

In Malatya, hot meals and provisions continue to be generally distributed. The kitchen service here is growing considerably. In the hospital area, the food service continues in coordination with the hospital management despite various attempts to prevent it. The biggest problem in this city is shelter. Tents and containers are in short supply.

In Adana & Mersin, aid parcels are regularly prepared and shipped to the nearest provinces and the needy are taken care of.

We are thankful for the strength God is giving His people to serve after the recent earthquakes in Turkey. As the tiny but mighty Turkish church ministers to the needs of those affected, believers around the world are assisting them. Thank you for your part in helping us and our Turkish brothers and sisters to spread the love and light of Jesus through your financial support and prayers.

Six weeks have passed since the initial earthquakes. Rescue and recovery operations have closed down and needs in the earthquake zone are stabilizing.

In the past few weeks, we sent eight housing containers to the city hardest hit by the tremors. We included foam beds, bedding, wood stoves, tools and basic furniture. The containers are being used as two separate bases of operations from which teams of believers serve food and set up tents. Our brothers and sisters are so thankful for this provision of containers. They are a secure and sturdy place for rest and storage of food and relief supplies.

Needs for hygiene items continue: gloves, diapers, masks (due to toxins in the air), liquid soap and toothpaste, disinfectant and wet wipes, underwear and socks are all needed. This week we sent hygiene supplies for distribution to small towns and villages in another province, where the first earthquake was centered.

The trauma endured by children who lived through the earthquake is another concern. We have partnered with a local ministry to provide supplies for children’s backpacks. Our partner writes, “We want to give them the opportunity to cuddle a soft toy as they fall asleep.  We want to make it possible for them to express what they’re feeling by giving them paper, pens and crayons so they can draw pictures and write their own stories.” We are thankful that we have been able to assist with supplying 650 backpacks to show the children that someone cares.

The government lifted some restrictions, so our workers are now able to go serve in the earthquake zone. This week we have co-workers serving in the zone, ministering to physical and emotional needs.

We continue to ask for your prayers, as the task is great. May God give strength, wisdom, hope and provision.

Updates from Calvary Partners in SyriaToday at the big mosque

We gave 450 people sandwiches.
But the biggest thing is I talked with the Imam , this is from Christian’s people and from the church. I asked him to tell the people about this. The Imam went to the loudspeakers at the mosque, and he told the people. This food is offer from Christian’s people and from one church whom they wanted to stand by us with these circumstances. The most amazing is that the people were taking from us and saying many words of thanks 🙏.
Literally this is never happened in Aleppo and inside the mosque.

Today we gave 800 sandwiches in different places.

Hello from Aleppo!

Before the earthquake, the war destroyed the country and the people. I was following the situation and always I was shocked how people are living and I was feeling too bad seeing my people suffering. I was receiving many messages about the poverty in the country, now the situation is more disastrous. While I was walking around the city center at the city of Aleppo, I noticed something moving inside a big trash box , I became curious and went towards it to see what is this? I arrived to it , for moments I was just shocked and speechless after I saw little kid with terrible dirty clothes on inside the trash box.
I : hello my dear
The boy : Hello Sir
I : what are you doing here ?
The boy : silent for a moment, as you see Sir .
I : I see you are inside, but why ?
The boy : we lost our home , my father has no job as most of the people in the country, we are 4 kids and my parents, everything is expensive, we have no money to buy food , I am hungry, I come here close to city center trash , that I could find some left food from people so I can eat,  here the boy started crying , and telling me , what on earth I have done mistake that I came to this point.
I : with tears in my eyes, my boy , your tears 😭 is very valuable for me , please stop crying, you are such a wonderful boy , I spoke with him some words to comfort him . Then I gave him money and asked him to go buy food for his family and eat with them .
The boy : With such a reaction, the boy was telling me , I don’t beg money, I’m not a beggar.
I : my boy, I respect you so much , and love you so much, I know you aren’t beggar, and you didn’t ask me for anything, I myself came to you , please don’t hurt me and make me feel bad .
The boy : thank you very much cause you said you respect and love me , never I heard these words in my life , you seem a good person, thank you very much for your help , I will go now immediately to buy food for my family.

This is just one story from tenth of kid’s stories what I am seeing and experiencing every day.

Updates from Calvary Partners in Turkey

Our dear Family in Christ – Peace to all from our Lord Jesus Christ. The devastation, pain and loss caused by the February 6 earthquake disaster continues to deeply sadden every single person in our country. The number of officially identified dead is over 45,000. The number of people who have died outside of that number is considerably higher and is still unaccounted for. In addition, two more earthquakes centered in have shaken the region, adding new wounds and creating more fear while the wounds are still fresh. However, despite this sadness, it is clearly seen by our churches how important it is to help, to walk together and to share the pain. We know and believe that our God works for good in every way. Our prayer is that our God will show his grace clearly to our country. 

Hatay, Antakya (this is Biblical Antioch) – Tents are being set up and supplies are being distributed at full speed in this region. Churches are trying to continue their services with the coordination of local and official authorities. Kurtulus Church has purchased a bakery in response to the need for bread in the region and is delivering aid to the people in the region. Especially in the city center of Hatay, meals are served to 15,000 people daily. In addition, the First Hope Association provides services to meet general needs such as showers, toilets, mobile bakery, food and food distribution. A play tent has also been set up for children. 

Hatay, İskenderun -In Iskenderun, services are held under the umbrella of the Iskenderun Church. This church is currently used as a warehouse. However, since the building has been damaged by the second and other aftershocks, it has become very dangerous to stay in the building. The tent city requires a significant amount of manpower, as the installation of the tent city starts with laying pebbles on the ground, so people go to the region for this purpose. In addition, the tent city consists of 80 tents in an area provided by the municipality. Permission has been obtained and plans are being made to distribute food, organize social activities for children and young people, and establish psychological counseling groups in the tent city.

Hatay, Altınözü -Altınözü Church carries out its services in the region without any breaks. Although the church members have been provided with tents, there is still a need for tents in the region. Church members invite people on certain days to distribute their needs.

In Kahramanmaraş, the church in Kayseri provides a special service. Parcels, tents and kitchen utensils prepared in the Kayseri warehouse are delivered to the region. It is stated that the need in the districts is higher than in the provincial center as Kahramanmaraş has many and scattered districts. As the weather is still cold, the need for stoves and coal is increasing.

Adana – Adana Church is active in this region. This region fulfills the supply chain needs for Kahramanmaraş, Antakya and İskenderun. Vehicles transport supplies to many parts of the region.

If you desire to give to help the relief go to: 

This is update is from our partner, Bruce Huseby, on the relief efforts that the church is providing in Turkey.

Update from Adana, Turkey

In the midst of the massive earthquake tragedy in Turkey and Syria, God is at work drawing people to Himself in a powerful way. He is inviting us at Calvary to pray for the devastated people of Syria and Turkey who are experiencing helplessness and grief. Would you continue to pray, may they meet the Prince of peace and inherit salvation because of this tragedy.

May the Holy Spirit opens the eyes and soften the hearts to receive Jesus. Pray for our partners on ground as they work very long hours to help as many people as possible, May they be bold in sharing and continue to direct eyes to Jesus for comfort and strengths.

A young Turkish Church has stepped up to bring relief in Jesus Name to the devastated people in Turkey.  They are supplying food and clothing to as many as possible,. Another church group in Ankara is also handing out hygiene packs and cooking two meals a week and inviting these displaced people to come and eat and hear the good news of Jesus.

Would you pray for them, for protection and guidance while they serve. Please pray for these desperate families to find rest in Jesus.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Regarding the relief effort in Syria, Mohamad, a Syrian native who found Jesus and professed Him, traveled to serve in Aleppo after the earthquake. He arrived to find a devastated city filled with grief and hopelessness, along with a team of family and old friends, they began assessing the needs: Food, water, blankets, buying medicine, and paying hospital bills were just some of the immediate ways to help. Soon, he began feeding 400 people a day, delivering food and water to their tents and shelters. He began buying firewood so those left homeless could gather around a fire to stay warm. He was buying and taking supplies to many different places in the city. One of these places was a large cemetery, where people are taking refuge after they lost their homes in the earthquake.).

Would you pray:

  • Pray for strength and protection physically and spiritually. May the Lord’s Hands be upon Mohammed in a special way.
  • Pray that Mohamed and his team gets the opportunity to share the grace and the unconditional love of Jesus on the cross.
  • Please continue to lift up the devastated families in Syria to find healing
  • “Hello from Aleppo, Syria, 36 hours after the earthquake. A lot of the city was destroyed from the war and now comes this earthquake to destroy even more and more. Thousands of people are lost, thousands of people are homeless. Many have left the area here for many reasons – it’s a huge disaster. We have tried to be here from the first moment to say that we love them and are with them in difficult moments, here from the beginning to express our real love and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ for them. Please keep praying for the people in Aleppo and for us.”
  • There is a Turkish relief organization of people from local churches there which is already on the ground in the earthquake devastated areas of their country, helping to provide food, clothing and mobile hygiene trucks, as well as search and rescue support. Pray for their safety and for opportunities to declare Jesus’ love as well as demonstrate it.