Syria – A new earthquake tremor, a fresh start. Salesian house in Aleppo is struggling

21 February 2023

(ANS - Aleppo) – Last night, two weeks after the 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria, killing more than 47,000 people, another powerful quake of 6.4-magnitude again triggered panic in the areas already affected by that first tragedy. Thousands of people again took to the streets and sought a safe place to take refuge. More than 750 of them thus reached the "Don Bosco" house in Aleppo to spend the night there. Salesians do not close their doors in front of anyone, but helping so many in need under those conditions is also a real challenge.

The new quake also occurred in Turkey, around 7 p.m. local time, in the Antioch area, with the epicenter in Hatay. So far, there are six more deaths and about 700 injured, people caught in the buildings or objects that were already unsafe or crushed by the crush generated by the panic. "In Aleppo, where there is a Salesian presence, we felt the earthquake very strongly. All the people took to the streets with so many nightmares still in their heads and so much fear," says Fr. Pier Jabloyan, Delegate of Social Communication (CS) of the Middle East Adolescent Jesus Province (MOR).

The Salesian community has again done what it is used to doing in any circumstance of need for the past 12 years, whether due to war or cataclysms: it has taken in displaced and needy people. However, "the difficulty is that now the Salesian house is overloaded with people: we have difficulty getting mattresses, blankets, food... We were not prepared for so many people, we were only equipped for 400 people," Fr. Jabloyan continues.

That it is then not just a matter of numbers is also explained by Fr. Alejandro León, Provincial Superior of the MOR Province. "When the first earthquake happened, the one in the early morning hours of February 6, the families were together and sleeping, but with this aftershock, the fear and uncertainty were compounded by not knowing where the children, parents, or the rest of the family were."

"In this phase, the psychological drama and great fear that we see in the eyes of our children, youth, and their families is felt even more strongly," agrees Fr. Jabloyan.

The "Don Bosco" house in Aleppo, which from the first moment had opened its doors to accommodate more than 500 people, giving them everything they needed to cope with the first emergency, was beginning a new phase of trying to help the affected people overcome the trauma and also to begin, through the aid received, to repair the damage to their homes. "With this new powerful quake, it was like having to start all over again," says Fr. León.

"We ask for your prayers. We hope the next few days will be calmer," concludes MOR's SC Delegate.

The Provincial, Fr. León, highlights "the concrete solidarity of the people we serve. Amid pain, panic and uncertainty, everyone wants to help those who are worse off, everyone asks what they can do, they have incredible patience and faith, and many recognize that they come to 'Don Bosco' because they feel safer in church."

It is possible to make a bank transfer or deposit to make your contribution to helping the Salesians in Syria. The coordinates are available in the attached pdf.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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