From the early hours of the earthquake disaster, until this moment; GOPA-DERD team continues to respond

From the early hours of the earthquake disaster, GOPA-DERD team provided an immediate response, by being on the ground to support rescue operations and extracting those stranded from under the rubble, by all possible means – using their hands to remove the rubble – in light of the lack of necessary machinery and equipment after the long years of war and the ongoing sanctions on Syria.

From the first day, and pursuant to the directives of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, GOPA-DERD’s team began relief and emergency response work that is continuing to this moment, through a quick study of the needs, and initiating the distribution of relief materials in the affected areas of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia. GOPA-DERD team began distributing basic necessities to those affected by the earthquake, including emergency food items, winter clothes, mattresses and blankets, shoes, milk and diapers, hygiene kits, water and medicines, to meet the needs of those affected in shelters, trying to secure a safe haven for those who lost their homes. The team also provided ready-to-meals to each of the medical personnel, civil defense, paramedics, and those working to remove rubble in the affected areas.

In Hama, the team distributed relief items as a quick response to meet the needs of those affected within the shelter centers in the city. Lighting supplies were also installed within the shelter centers. On the other hand, the team went to the towns of Suqaylabiyah, Mahardah, Kafrbo, and Wadi al-Nasara to meet the needs of the displaced families. Through the distribution of relief items of all kinds.

In Aleppo, GOPA-DERD’s team secured the basic daily necessities to receive the affected families in each of the halls of the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Elias and the shelter centers of the schools in Bustan al-Basha area, al-Asma’i and the Arab Vigilance in the Suleiman al-Halabi area, and the schools of Salim Melko Jerbaqa in the Haidariya area, and Queen Zenobia, in addition to distributing relief items within these centers.

In Latakia, GOPA-DERD team provided a wide range of medicines needed to treat the injured in Tishreen University Hospital, and food items for the injured families arriving at the National Hospital in the city, along with distributing winter clothes, and providing crutches and wheelchairs for eligible cases within the hospital, in addition to distributing food items as well. This took place in various shelters in the city and within the Al-Haffah area – Rural Latakia.

In response to the great need caused by the earthquake in the city of Jableh, GOPA-DERD’s team distributed food items in each of the areas of Al-Zuhairiyat, Ras Al-Ain and Al-Hawiz, in addition to distribution of food items and clothes to the affected families in the industrial city, and blankets, first-aid medicines, diapers and infant formula to those affected. The team also provided the Jableh National Hospital with blankets, sheets, nebulizers, pressure devices, and emergency medicines necessary for emergency cases.

Parallel to the emergency distributions, GOPA-DERD’s engineering team responded to the call of the people in the stricken areas, and began its field tours to detect the cracks and fissures that hit their homes as a result of the earthquake, and to determine their seriousness, in preparation for providing the required response. GOPA-DERD’s engineering team in Aleppo also continued the response work through putting up warning signs for dangerous buildings, in cooperation with UNMAS.
In response to the call of His Beatitude Patriarch John X, GOPA-DERD contributed to the campaign of in-kind donations to meet the needs of those affected and send them via trucks to the affected areas so that our team in these areas receives, sorts, coordinates and distributes them to meet the needs of the affected families.

In addition to the intensive work to meet the needs of those affected at the relief level, GOPA-DERD team realized early on, the importance of providing psychological first-aid support in emergency situations, and began providing initial psychological support to children within shelter centers through the implementation of recreational activities.

With the aim of proper assistance to both first responders and those affected, GOPA-DERD protection team who deals first-hand on the ground in the affected areas with those affected by the earthquake, received supportive sessions on the concept of psychological first-aid and safe assistance to the paramedics and affected persons.

In light of this emergency response on all levels, GOPA-DERD medical team in Aleppo provided medical consultations, which included measuring blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and oxygenation, as well as general medical examinations for people who needed it, from the affected families in the shelters.
GOPA-DERD team in Latakia treated some cases from the shelter center To Al-Haffa National Hospital, to follow up on conducting the necessary examinations, and to secure the required medication for each case. In each of Al-Suqaylabiyah and Wadi Al-Nasara, volunteers made a tour with a doctor, on cases that required medical follow-up.

With the increasing need resulting from the earthquake, intensive work continues on the ground, where GOPA-DERD team provides new levels of response, paralleling the momentum of relief efforts that have been ongoing since the first day of the disaster.