A newborn baby girl is pulled from rubble after rescue workers hear her cries. She is three hours old and the only survivor of her family.
A toddler is carried from the remaining heaps of concrete that once formed the building where she lived. Her rescuer refuses to let her go and instead sits and cries as he holds her in his arms. She is another orphan whose family has died in the 7.8 earthquake that has left more than 20,000 dead and tens of thousands of others injured in Turkey and Syria.
It is the worst disaster for this region in more than 80 years. The numbers keep growing and are staggering … but it is the reality of photos and videos that wake us up at night.
Every person who has ever loved a child feels cracked wide open to see stunned orphans being carried to safety and older adults weeping over the deaths of their family and friends.
At World Concern, we immediately set up strategies to help. We've reached out to partners on the ground in Turkey and Syria, and we have also created a way to give for those with a desire and the ability to help.
The response has been notable. A tragedy such as this rallies us all. Right now, the best ways to help are by praying and giving so rescuers in Turkey and Syria can do the work of saving people. There are NGOs and first responders with their ears to the ground so to speak, listening for any remaining survivors and clearing the rubble to bring them to safety.
We’re all watching the clock as temperatures are below freezing, and we know that people can only survive for a few days without water.
So, we pray and we cling to photos of hope – the pair of siblings pinned between two slabs of concrete, the seven-year-old sister’s arm protectively wrapped around her younger brother. They are alive and have each other, despite having lost everyone else. Another young boy carried on a stretcher with a concerned rescue worker speaking kindly to him.
As the days pass and the urgency of rescuing slows down, there will be much work to be done. Reports say that 40% of the buildings in the epicenters of the earthquake have been destroyed. These were the homes of hundreds of thousands of people who now need someplace to live.
And then there is the rebuilding of lives. The healing from trauma. The grief that needs our compassion. The babies that need families.
God calls us to be instruments of this healing work. He says in James 1:27–
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction…”
There are many verses in the Bible that tell us to help the poor, to welcome the stranger, to do good to all people … it is crises like this earthquake that provide obvious opportunities for us to take action and live out our faith.
We are so grateful for your response to give. Please continue to do so, and to pray. The words of Teresa of Avila, spoken more than five centuries ago, still ring true:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
Please join us as we continue to pray for Turkey & Syria. Prayerfully consider how God might be calling you to respond and if you feel led, you can donate here.