Earthquake appeal from Jesuit missions

February 8, 2023 in News

Irish Jesuits International (formerly Irish Jesuit Missions) has launched an appeal to help those impacted by the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey on Sunday -Monday, 5- 6 February 2023. You can phone 00 353 1 8366509 or click here to donate »

Irish Jesuit Tony O’Riordan SJ is based in Syria and reports that the community of three Jesuits in Aleppo fled their house after the first earthquake and joined the other residents outside in the freezing cold through Monday night.

Tony travelled to Aleppo to lead the JRS needs assessment and early response to the tragedy (see video below). “Sustaining life and health is our immediate priority, and we will seek to reopen our health clinics once buildings are cleared by engineers,” he says, adding, “We will continue to ramp up our support of basic protection again the cold and elements for people unable to return home. Helping people remain resilient mentally will be a second priority”

Many houses have collapsed and Tony says people are refusing to return to their homes out of fear of other earthquakes. The Jesuits have opened up their building in Aziziyé to people looking for shelter as it is a well-built house.

Other JRS staff in Syria report significant damage in Aleppo, with collapsed or uninhabitable hospitals, lack of electricity, and broken or very difficult connections. People are shaken and frightened, they say, as they reaffirm that JRS “Remains in solidarity with the people of Syria who have long been suffering because of the war and socio-economic consequences, with millions of displaced people. As the weight of multiple traumas makes the future seem daunting, we pray that the Syrian people may soon find healing and peace.”

They have appealed to people to please make a donation, “And help our Syrian brothers and sisters endure this new tragedy. Your generosity will help our staff continue to support thousands of Syrians who have lost their homes and loved ones. Thank you!”.

Meanwhile in Turkey, Irish Jesuit Michael McGuckian SJ, based in Ankara, reports that they are all fine there but “One member of the community, the Turkish Jesuit, Antuan Ilgit SJ, is in the middle of it, in Iskenderum. The cathedral there collapsed completely, but happily, no one was hurt.” The situation in Eastern Turkey is fluid and constantly being updated. Antuan Ilgut SJ is organizing relief for his parishioners.

Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, leader of the Jesuit Order worldwide has expressed his deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and communities affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, homes, and communities. We pray for the swift and safe recovery of all those who have been injured and for the comfort of those who have been impacted by this disaster”.