Rome (Italy). The earthquake that struck Turkey in the early hours of 6 February 2023 while it was still night, with a magnitude of 7.8, also affected some areas of Syria, including Aleppo and the surrounding area, with the loss of numerous buildings.
The Mother General of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians reports the situation of the FMA communities present in Syria:
“In Damascus they have not suffered any physical or material damage, on the contrary, the Sisters of Damascus are bringing blankets, jackets, and clothes to the Community of Aleppo which has not suffered any damage. However, the earthquake was so strong that everyone was frightened, and many inhabitants gathered in the courtyard of the oratory. In that area of Aleppo many buildings collapsed. This is the news we have, which reassures us about the safety of the Sisters, even if the situation remains an emergency.”
The Provincial of Jesus Adolescent Province (MOR), Sr. Charlotte Greer, is in contact with the communities and brings their voice:
“Our sisters are fine in Syria and also in Lebanon, although they felt the shock. It was strongest in Aleppo, because it is further north. The Sisters are in the courtyard with the people because no one wants to go back home. The Animator of our hospital in Damascus immediately went to bring jackets and clothes because it is very cold. After the first quake of 7.8, there was another one, of 7.5.”
On the way back together with two missionaries, Sr. Carol Tahhan Fachakh, Animator of Mary Help of Christians Community of Damascus, sent this news to the Provincial. “The situation makes the heart cry; people are on the street, in the cold and rain. The latest statistics say a hundred dead and 45 injured, but there is still no news of many people.”
Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin, on behalf of Pope Francis, has sent a telegram respectively to the Apostolic Nuncio in Turkey, Archbishop Marek Solczyński, and to the Apostolic Nuncio in Syria, Card. Mario Zenari, in which the Pope assures his spiritual closeness, entrusting those who have died to the loving mercy of the Almighty, and those affected to His Providence, and offering prayer especially for emergency personnel involved in the ongoing relief efforts.
While awaiting other updates and as the Sisters present in this land try to stay close to the population by providing for basic needs, Mother and the Sisters of the Council, together with all the communities of the FMA Institute, assure their support in prayer, invoking the special protection of Mary Help of Christians for the people affected by this calamity.
The Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians offers concrete support to the population and counts on the generosity and solidarity of all. It is possible to send contributions and offerings, in the manner indicated on the Website of the FMA Istitute, designating the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria Emergency in the reason for payment.