The 52-bed mobile medical facility will provide critical and surgical care to the region as we continue rushing lifesaving relief to devastated areas.
In the wake of deadly earthquakes that devastated Turkey and Syria on Feb. 6, Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a 52-bed Emergency Field Hospital near Antakya in southern Turkey. Historically known as Antioch, this is the area where believers were first called Christians (see Acts 11:26). Among other services, the hospital will include two emergency operating rooms and a pharmacy.
Following a Feb. 9 airlift from Atlanta, our team quickly began raising the field hospital on property surrounding the 1,100-bed Hatay State Hospital, which was irreparably crippled and made unsafe by the earthquakes. Our team is urgently building on the open space of the adjoining parking area and preparing to receive patients at the mobile medical facility early this week.
The loss of the region’s key healthcare facility further compounds the desperation felt by communities who’ve experienced unimaginable loss, grief, and the destruction of all they had. The death toll from this disaster exceeds 30,000 people, and tens of thousands more are injured and displaced. These tragic numbers continue to rise.
“This massive earthquake has devastated Turkey. Thousands of people were killed and hundreds of thousands have been left homeless and are searching for their loved ones. It is cold there and survivors are in shock—they need our help,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We are responding to meet needs in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for all those who are suffering.”
“We are responding to meet needs in Jesus’ Name. Please pray for all those who are suffering.”
Our teams will also be bringing urgently needed items, such as tarps, blankets, and solar lights, into the hardest-hit areas. Between the hospital and other efforts, we will have more than 100 Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) specialists on the ground.
Special Feb. 12 Update from the Field
Our presence on the ground is becoming more known throughout Antakya and nearby areas. This afternoon, an elderly woman approached our site in need of something to eat as she is diabetic. One of our registered nurses named Rhonda, who happens to speak Turkish, was able to give her a banana during a brief break from setting up the tents and equipment. More importantly, Rhonda provided a listening ear.
The elderly woman shared that she is from another area in Turkey, but that her family lives here. After hearing the news of the devastating earthquakes, she traveled to the city to find her daughter and grandchildren. To her dismay, they had all died in the disaster.
While speaking with our staff, the woman shed tears and thanked Samaritan’s Purse for being in Turkey. She offered hugs and kisses before leaving the site in search of somewhere to stay for the night. Her story is heartbreaking, but just one of so many in this hurting nation today.
In total, there are more than 75 disaster response specialists at the Emergency Field Hospital site—each working tirelessly to complete the setup. Through multiple aftershocks, bitterly cold evenings/mornings, and extremely long hours (working long after sundown and before dawn), the DART is working to open the hospital as soon as possible.
As nearly a dozen white tents have now been erected among a crowd of ambulances and displaced families, anticipation is building for all that God will do through this facility. The constant buzz of airplanes and ambulance sirens paint the backdrop to the scene of suffering and remind us of why we are here.
>> LEARN MORE: Emergency Field Hospital Up and Running; Relief Underway
Please continue to pray that these many heartbroken families would experience the hope and comfort provided only through our Lord Jesus Christ. Please also pray for our teams and for others responding in the wake of these traumatic injuries and mass casualties.
As needs continue to grow, we will be deploying additional disaster assistance specialists and supplies to the region. Our teams will continue to work alongside local church partners to bring physical relief and share God’s love with those who are hurting.