Aleppo (Syria). On 6 February 2023, an earthquake measuring 7.8 hit eastern Turkey and northern Syria, devastating buildings and homes, with a very high number of victims, not yet specified.
The House of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians in Aleppo, in Adolescent Jesus Province (MOR) did not suffer significant damage so, in an external hall and in the courtyard, the sisters were able to accommodate up to 150 people who abandoned their crumbling homes for fear of new tremors. Some Sisters of Mary Help of Christians Community of Damascus immediately showed up bringing blankets, jackets, and clothes, and some of them regularly go to lend a hand.
From the outset, the welcome by the Sisters was attentive and tireless, with the aim of offering shelter and a little comfort in a dramatic situation, accentuated by the harshness of winter temperatures. The people hosted, single people, families even with small children, the elderly, were able to find a serene and peaceful atmosphere, as Sister Jeannette testifies, who together with Sister Graziella remained close to the population. “We have Christians, Muslims, and Kurds and everyone is grateful for the serene atmosphere. The situation is very difficult. There are those who no longer have their homes, those who are so afraid to enter, and those who have seen people die under the rubble. So, every night we have a lot of people who come to stay safe, even sleeping on a chair. We offer sandwiches and everything necessary sent to us by other associations.”
The young people linked to the reality of the FMA are giving fundamental support to the Sisters, helping them with great generosity and creativity in everything from preparing sandwiches and breakfast for all the guests, to organizing parcels of blankets, jackets, clothes, medicines, and basic necessities to be distributed to families, to arranging and airing the mattresses on which they sleep. “Although their houses too have been damaged and relatives do not sleep in their own homes, the young people of our Center never leave us and run to help even before us. We thank the Lord that we have these young people who are so generous and eager to help; they have so much mercy,” says Sister Jeannette.
Together with them, the Sisters also brought aid outside the Community, reaching some camps with tents where the displaced are staying and offering them sandwiches and jackets to shelter from the cold. In the evening, in the Community courtyard, we pray the Rosary together in front of Our Lady, entrusting ourselves to her and entrusting her with the victims and all the people who are experiencing this terrible situation.
In this country, which has already been tried for a long time by conflicts and now also by this natural disaster, aid from humanitarian associations and organizations is finally starting to arrive. The Sisters and the people are very grateful to all the benefactors: “Thanks to God so much food, clothing, and other goods arrive, so all day long there is a ‘coming and going’ to receive and have something necessary.” However, as Sister Jeanette reports, the problems increase as the days go by, due to the still too precarious situation, and there is a need for financial aid to be able to clear the rubble and start some work to return to the houses.
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 Institute, designating as the reason Earthquake Emergency in Turkey and Syria.
Also read: Earthquake in Turkey and in Syria