Earthquake survivors face a ‘dark’ Ramadan in Turkey

by | Mar 30, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Eight years ago, Wael fled to Turkey amid the threat of bombings and airstrikes unleashed during the Syrian civil war. Now, nearly two months since a 7.8 magnitude earthquake decimated parts of Turkey and Syria, Wael said he and other Syrian refugees are coping with an event that’s arguably more traumatic than the war they escaped from in the first place.“We’re all waiting for the next catastrophe or the next disaster. Maybe a volcano or some new disease,” Wael, who asked to go by his first name due to safety concerns, told Religion News Service in a call from Gaziantep, Turkey. “Most or all of us feel displaced twice, first because of the Syrian war, and second because of the earthquake.”
This Ramadan, Wael is also joining millions of other Muslims in Turkey fighting to rebuild while simultaneously observing the sacred month of fasting. As a relief worker with Ihsan Relief and Development, a regional organization serving Syrians and Syrian refugees, that means spending the day distributing aid without eating or drinking.
“As a humanitarian worker responding to the earthquake crisis, for this Ramadan, to be honest with you, I didn’t have any iftars at my own home until now,” he said. “It’s really different than last Ramadan.”
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