Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 21, 2024

We must support our peers impacted by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD | February 16, 2023


The most devastating earthquake in over a decade struck southeast Turkey and northern Syria on Feb. 6. Following the initial 7.8-magnitude quake, the area was rocked by a series of aftershocks. Since then, the death toll has risen to over 36,000, and more than a million people have been left homeless in Turkey alone. 

For some victims, this disaster is only the latest tragedy to befall them, as many Ukranian and Syrian refugees fled to Turkey to escape their countries’ respective wars. Of the nearly 7 million refugees who have fled Syria over the course of its 12-year civil war, more than half reside in Turkey. 

The widespread devastation in Turkey is in part due to buildings' faulty construction and loosely enforced safety regulations. More than a week after the earthquake, search and rescue teams are still pulling survivors from the rubble of collapsed structures.

In response to the tragedy, international rescue efforts are currently underway. Dozens of countries have sent rescue teams and equipment, including the U.S., which has donated $85 million in humanitarian assistance and sent military personnel to Turkey.

Around campus, student organizations have been offering their help and sympathy in different ways. Members of the Turkish Student Association have raised over $3,000 in relief funds devoted to on-the-ground search and rescue organizations. They have also gathered supplies like blankets, tents, canned foods and more, which they plan to deliver to the Turkish Embassy in Washington.

Other groups, like Teachers and Researchers United, have provided their support by creating a list of organizations and resources that people can use to donate to relief efforts.

International students are a large and integral part of the Hopkins campus. It’s vital to remember that even when tragedy strikes thousands of miles away, our community here in Baltimore feels the impact. 

Natural disasters can have a multitude of effects on one’s mental health, including grief, panic and difficulty sleeping. The effects may not be noticeable for weeks or months after the event. At times like these, it is more important than ever that we band together to support each other. Even if you can’t donate to the humanitarian relief efforts in Turkey, you can lend your emotional support to the affected members of our community.

As we continue to learn the extent of the devastation, our thoughts are with students from Turkey and Syria who are feeling the effects of this tragedy.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a Disaster Distress Helpline to assist those experiencing distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. Trained crisis counselors can be reached at 1-800-985-5990, 24/7, 365-day-a-year.

The Counseling Center may be contacted by calling (410) 516-8278 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A counselor is also available 24/7 at that same number in emergency situations.

Student Outreach and Support is available for appointments and can be contacted at (410) 516-7857 or at

Religious & Spiritual Life can be reached from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at (410) 516-1880 or at

A Place to Talk is available for in-person support Sunday through Thursday. Members are available from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. in Brody Learning Commons 4010 and from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. in AMR I.

TimelyMD’s TalkNow service is available 24/7 and can be accessed by visiting

Students may contact their resident advisors or residence directors or visit the Residential Life Office. Residential Life can be contacted by phone at (410) 516-8283 or by email at

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