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Syria Ehab after the earthquake

Syria - one year after the earthquake

On February 6, 2023, northern Syria was rocked by a devastating earthquake. This happened in a country that was already in ruins after twelve years of conflict. Yet the Syrians have not lost heart. A year later, ZOA is still there to support them.


Rebuilding Syria's future

Water, sanitation, food, medicine. There was a dire shortage of everything in northern Syria, after the earthquake that hit the area on February 6, 2023. The need in the region was already great because of the years of civil war. ZOA was therefore already working in Aleppo, and able to take immediate action after the earthquake to provide emergency aid.

“This really must be the last straw,” said Marjanne van Vliet, director of ZOA in Syria, shortly after the violent earthquake - now a year ago. “And yet, that was not the case. Apparently it could still get worse.”

Emergency aid

Immediately after the earthquake, ZOA employees started providing emergency aid in the affected area. Food and jerrycans for water were distributed. Building inspectors were called in to check whether or not it was still safe to stay in homes.

Shortly later, cash distribution began to the most vulnerable people so that they could provide for their own basic necessities. Now, a year later, 13,035 people have been able to buy medicine, food or school supplies with this cash support.


Jerrycans in Aleppo


The earthquake left many people in Aleppo without water. An important waterstation in the city was severely damaged. ZOA restored it, so that 200,000 people now have access to clean drinking water again.

ZOA is also working on repairing irrigation canals that were destroyed by the earthquake. This will allow around 20,000 farmers to irrigate their land and grow crops again. This makes it possible for them to provide food for other people and earn an income.

After the earthquake, school buildings that were still intact were used as shelters for people who had lost everything. ZOA repaired damaged water and sanitary facilities in 10 of these school buildings in Aleppo. Until months after the earthquake, 3,976 people were sheltered there. Now, there are classes going on again; students are using the facilities.

In 36 other school buildings, only minor plumbing repairs were needed. ZOA also took care of this, so that students from the wider region could come to the schools to write their annual exams.


After the earthquake, education in northern Syria came to a standstill for months. Some schools were used as shelters; others were too badly damaged by the earthquake.

ZOA believes it is important that children and young people in the area have access to education again. Together with local contractors, ZOA is therefore working hard to restore three severely damaged school buildings. This means that many children in the city can safely return to school.

A year after the earthquake, Syrians have not lost heart, says one of ZOA's employees in Syria. “And we expect that the reopening of schools will increase the resilience of communities.”

Syrië school rehabilitation