The devastating earthquakes in Turkey and neighbouring Syria have brought suffering, destruction and death to thousands of people. We are receiving shocking news from those affected. Among them are Syrian students from NEST (Near East School of Theology) who are from the Aleppo area and whose families live in the affected area. The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem and the Middle East, an EMS member, also has parishes in Syria. However, these are near Damascus and therefore far away from the epicentre. When asked, they told us that they were not affected by the earthquake.
The Archbishop of the Episcopal Church, Hossam Naoum, has sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the earthquake. He writes (see photo): "We pray to Almighty God that the victims may rest in peace. We pray for His Mercy and for the injured to get better and to recover. We pray for quick help for all those affected." Particularly in the north-east of Syria, where state structures are lacking, the help of church communities will be even more important.
The National Evangelical Church in Beirut and the Evangelical Schneller School have reported only minor material damage. Dieter Heidtmann, General Secretary of EMS said: "We are following the news from the earthquake areas with great concern. The people affected by this terrible natural disaster are in our thoughts and prayers."