As the world continues to watch the devastation since two powerful earthquakes shook southern Turkey in the country’s worst natural disaster in a generation, the death toll is expected to surpass 50,000.

Nurdağı and towns across southern Turkey and northern Syria are now scenes of apocalyptic levels of destruction.

On the street outside, dozens of corpses lie piled on top of each other on a row of pickup trucks, waiting to be buried. Imams have had no choice but to officiate a ceaseless rush of mass funerals.

It’s estimated that forty per cent of the people who lived in Nurdağı are now dead.

Credit: SKT Welfare

In Kahramanmaraş, emergency workers continue to comb the wreckage, now only finding bodies, or just body parts. In the Afrin district in north-east Syria, a cemetery has been extended with makeshift mass grave burial sites.

In the southern Turkish city of Osmaniye, a cemetery ran out of space, while outside Kahramanmaras, near the epicentre of the quake, a makeshift graveyard overflowed with so many corpses that wooden planks and concrete blocks gathered from the debris had to serve as headstones.

In Jinderes, north-west Syria, a town full of people displaced by a decade of civil war, refugees who had survived bombardments and chemical gas attacks had again run for their lives as buildings collapsed.

As countries across the world pledge financial and medical aid, charities and organisations working on the ground have themselves been affected and have lost loved ones.

SKT Welfare has international offices in Reyhanli, Turkey and in Idlib, Northern Syria – all key earthquake zones. Many from their team have also lost family and friends. Despite this, they continue to work in the affected areas and the hospital, saving lives and delivering vital supplies.

Credit: SKT Welfare

They built the Al Huda Hospital in 2014, funded by the UK population, during the Syrian conflict, during which period it has been bombed many times over the years.

It’s probably only survived the earthquake despite being located within the most affected area where other buildings have sadly been destroyed due to the fact it was fortified every time it was hit.

Based in Northern Syria (Idlib Province), close to the Turkey Border, the hospital, like others, is overwhelmed with thousands of people seeking medical help since the earthquake. Thousands of injured await treatment but funds to buy medical supplies are running out.

A spokesperson for SKT Welfare said: “The situation on the ground is beyond words.

“There has been mass destruction of shelters and makeshift medical camps, resulting in thousands of people from surrounding areas reaching out to SKT Safe Haven Villages and Al Huda Hospital for medical help, shelter and warmth.

“People arrive in a state of desperation. The villages are now overcrowded, which means the risk of spreading infection is high. This combined with the bitter cold in these areas makes survival particularly challenging for the vulnerable elderly and children.”

Credit: SKT Welfare

Each and every life they can save is an invaluable effort, but with access to limited resources hundreds of wounded people sitting in corridors waiting to be seen. The situation is heartbreaking, and a lot of crying can be heard as people turn to each other for comfort.

“The medical staff tell us that crush injuries range from minor to life threatening; one of the doctors reported stabilising a child who had internal organ bleeding.

“With infrastructure wrecked, lack of electric power is critical, and they need fuel to run generators – for light, of course, and the vital X-Ray machines and scanners. Fuel is also needed for ambulances and transport of life saving medical supplies to the hospital.

“There’s an urgent need for emergency medical aid and winter packs, which are vital in saving lives right now. We urge people to donate what they can so we can help those on the ground.”

Many of the people who live in areas around the Syrian Turkish border, are refugees from the Syrian conflict. Now, having struggled to rebuild their lives since, with their homes destroyed a second time, they have to suffer mental trauma all over again.

Their rebuilding process will take time – time to remove the rubble and bury loved ones; and then, rebuild their homeland. A rebuild in which SKT Welfare, working with funds from the UK and networks in Syria and Turkey, will play a crucial role. Donate online now at or call 0300 30 20 786