FAO raises concerns over disruptions to basic food production, seeks support to address immediate livelihood needs
The quakes caused widespread destruction in southern Turkey and northern Syria and killed tens of thousands of people. Hatay, Türkiye, February 15.
©Burak Kara/Getty Images
Rome - As the sheer devastation provoked by the earthquake that hit Türkiye and the Syrian Arab Republic on 6 February 2023 continues to be revealed, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is scaling operations on the ground in both countries focusing on the needs of rural communities who have been less visible in this crisis but are also reeling from the impacts, including those hosting earthquake victims from nearby towns and cities.
Working together with the relevant local authorities, FAO is closely monitoring the situation and assessing its impacts on agriculture and food supply chains to better understand the extent of the damage and identify priority areas of intervention in order to rapidly resume food production and restitute overall food value chains.
In Türkiye, FAO is working closely with the Government to determine the next steps in rehabilitating agriculture-sector infrastructure damaged by the earthquake including irrigation systems, roads, markets and storage capacity. In Syria, rapid assessments by FAO of areas affected by the earthquakes suggest major disruption to crop and livestock production capacity, threatening immediate and longer-term food security. This includes damage and loss to livestock, agricultural equipment and infrastructure such as greenhouses, irrigation, storage facilities, as well as food and feed production facilities, among others.
FAO’s priority in both Türkiye and Syria is to ensure that the most affected rural communities can sustain and recover basic food production, while supporting local authorities to assess agricultural damage and needs at a wider scale. Activities in both countries will focus on supplying agricultural inputs (animal feed, seed, seedlings, fertilizer, fuel, tools, equipment), veterinary care (livestock treatment and vaccination) and unconditional cash transfers for one to three months. Damage and needs assessments and associated recovery plans will further inform future actions.
FAO has been supporting rural families affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria for 13 years. Under the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan for Syria, FAO was already seeking around $122.6 million to assist nearly three million people. Many of these families were in the earthquake-hit parts of the country and their needs will only have increased with this new shock, as will funding requirements.
Under the United Nations Syrian Arab Republic Flash Appeal, FAO requires $10 million to reach 300 000 rural people in need over the next three months with cash, livestock assistance and agricultural support to secure a summer crop.
In Türkiye too, FAO has been supporting displaced and host community families affected by the crisis in Syria, focusing on employment and livelihoods creation. Under its Syria Refugee Resilience Plan, FAO is aiming to provide support to 250 000 people with $71.8 million funding.
Under the United Nations Türkiye Flash Appeal, FAO seeks $25 million to reach 900 000 rural people in all 11 affected provinces with immediate livelihood support and unconditional cash transfers over the next three months.
FAO is committed to supporting assessments of the impact of the shocks on livelihoods and the agriculture sector, while simultaneously implementing time-sensitive interventions in support of affected farming families.