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Syria: One year after the earthquake, Suzan is trying to get her life back

Emergency Rehabilitation

Suzan’s life was turned upside down by the earthquake that hit northwest Syria on 6 February 2023. HI and its partners helped her get through.

Suzan, aged 12, was trapped under rubble for 13 hours during the earthquake of February 6, 2023. Here she is in Aqrabat hospital.

Suzan, aged 12, was trapped under rubble for 13 hours during the earthquake of February 6, 2023. Here she is in Aqrabat hospital. | © HI

On 6 February 2023, a massive earthquake struck northwest Syria killing more than 6,000 people and injuring a further 10,000. The earthquake caused yet more pain and devastation to a country already torn apart by 12 years of war. HI and its partners are helping more than 10,000 people to get back on their feet.

Suzan’s life changed dramatically. She has been supported by Humanity & Inclusion (HI).

Her house was destroyed

Suzan Arnous, 12 years old, used to live in Atmeh, Idleb Governorate, northwest Syria, with her family. Her father worked and her mother stayed at home. Suzan and her siblings went to school. Suzan, the youngest, was in sixth grade.

In the earthquake that struck on 6 February 2023, Suzan lost her father and brother. Her house was badly damaged and she had to move to a displaced people’s camp with her mother and sister.

Unable to perform activities of daily life

Suzan had severe physical injuries to her hip and legs after being trapped under the rubble for 13 hours. She had great difficulties walking and performing activities of daily life, like washing and dressing, etc.

She was also in shock and under a lot stress. Not only was she seriously injured, but she had lost people she loved and her home had become a tent in a displaced people’s camp. Her life had been turned completely upside down. She also spent 12 months in hospital.

Rehabilitation helped her to walk again

After receiving physical rehabilitation treatment in Aqrabat Hospital, Suzan’s motor functions improved and she was able to stand and move. She wore a cast below the knee for a while and had to walk with crutches.

The short-term physical therapy helped her to mobilise her toes, knee and hip. The exercises also helped her to correct her limb position, eliminate risks of oedema and helped her to stand up, to walk…

She now can walk easily without any mobility devices.

Suzan’s life as a displaced person

Suzan’s daily life is hard due to her displacement. When she arrived, her tent was not equipped and had no access to toilets and running water.

Suzan talks to us about her life in the camp and how HI helps to improve her conditions:

“Sleeping on the floor in an empty tent after we lost our house was very difficult. I used to do my school homework on the floor, which caused me a lot of back pain. HI has provided me with a bed and furniture and now I sleep better and can study more easily. I have also been given a shower chair. I feel safer, more stable, when I use it in the bath. I am no longer worried of falling or slipping. 

Like many people now, I’m afraid of the dark after spending 13 hours buried under rubble. HI has provided us with lights and solar energy. Now, we can turn the lights on at night and we feel safer.  
HI has also provided us with a water tank and a very long water hose. Before I had a hard time transporting water.
I would like to thank HI and the donors for their support. I hope they continue their support for people with disabilities, especially children.”

6 February 2023 earthquake

On 6 February 2023, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Turkey near the Syrian border, with thousands of aftershocks. The disaster impacted at least 15.73 million people in Turkey and Syria, with over 55,000 lives lost and nearly 130,000 injured. Millions were displaced from their homes. In Syria, the earthquake exacerbated the effects of the ongoing war, deepening the crisis for approximately 3.7 million children.

Date published: 01/02/24


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