Earthquakes in Turkey and Syria – Emergency aid from France (9 February 2023)


Following the devastating double earthquake which hit southern Turkey and north-west Syria on Monday, France again wants to express its deep sorrow, extend its condolences to the bereaved, assure the missing people’s families that it is thinking of them, and voice its full solidarity with all those injured and affected.

At President Macron’s request, France immediately responded to Turkey’s request for international assistance, also expressed through the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism. Under the authority of Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna and in conjunction with our embassy in Ankara, the Ministry’s Crisis and Support Centre has been coordinating an interministerial effort to put in place emergency aid for the people affected.

A large-scale operation by the emergency services was organized on Monday evening. Two search and rescue detachments from the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas France are at work in Turkey to conduct rescue, search and assistance operations. Specifically, this involves 71 rescue workers and four dogs from Nogent-le-Rotrou’s emergency services training and intervention unit no.1, and 65 firefighters and six dogs from Ile-de-France’s defence and security zone, as well as a Crisis and Support Centre team. We have also seconded a French member of staff to the European coordination team sent to the region.

Following this initial immediate response, we signalled our willingness to step up our support for Turkey. In this context, the Turkish authorities asked France to send a high-capacity field hospital. Together with the Ministry of the Interior and Overseas France, we are deploying ESCRIM (emergency services rapid medical intervention unit), which can treat several hundred injured people a day. An emergency services team tasked with organizing the logistics of this very substantial and complex deployment will leave for southern Turkey in the next few hours.

Also in the coming hours, France will be sending 50,000 diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, provided by Foundation S–the Sanofi Collective and the voluntary organization Tulipe, for the people affected.

France is also supporting the efforts of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to the tune of €500,000, in response to its emergency appeal for Turkey. This aid will enable the Turkish Red Crescent to provide assistance in the fields of shelter, health, water, hygiene and sanitation in the areas affected.

Our support is also going to the Syrian people. We are thus putting in place €12 million of emergency aid for the Syrian population, in conjunction with nongovernmental organizations working directly to support the population and with the United Nations, throughout the regions hit by the earthquakes.

This aid from France will involve:

  • €5 million for the United Nations’ Syria Cross-Border Humanitarian Fund (SCHF);
  • €5 million through several French and international NGOs working on emergency interventions in the fields of health, shelter, water, hygiene, sanitation and food security;
  • a €2-million contribution, currently being considered, as part of scheduled food aid, to meet Syrian people’s urgent food needs.