Continued earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

February 21, 2023 by Our Department News

Sunday, the Hatay region of Türkiye experienced two more strong earthquakes in an already devastated region. We continue to send our sympathy to those in Türkiye and Syria, and those that are part of the NMC community with family and friends in the region.

If you are looking for ways to support disaster relief and help those impacted in Türkiye and Syria, a number of groups offering immediate assistance in the area are listed below, including the Red Cross’ Earthquake in Türkiye and Syria Appeal, where donations made between February 6 and 22 will be matched by the Government of Canada. 

Students, staff and faculty affected by the disaster may also be seeking assistance in dealing with the distress associated with the event. NMC would like to invite you to a conversation with faculty members so that we may begin a dialogue on how the U of T community may best come together and support both its students and those affected by this devastating situation.

To reach out to all students who have been affected by these events, some of our faculty members have organized a virtual town hall on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, at 3 pm. This is an opportunity for you to share and for us to listen so that we may coordinate a response and explore ways for the faculty to support your efforts.
Meeting ID: 819 3982 1645

As many of you are aware, the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations has longstanding ties to the region through a major ongoing archaeological research project in the Hatay Province of Türkiye: the Tayinat Archaeological Project under the direction of Professor Tim Harrison. The local community, which has close ties with the project, faces significant, immediate humanitarian needs and hardships as a result of the damage to homes and the freezing temperatures.

If you would like to receive updates on the situation in the area, or find out how you can directly help, please contact Professor Tim Harrison (

Support Services for Students, Staff and Faculty

The University has emergency need-based funding available for students in need. To access it, students can complete the U of T Grant application:

The Multi-Faith Centre will continue to support students and groups wishing to hold space for solidarity events, and chaplains are available for students to speak with if they wish. Students can request access directly:

A safe space is being organized at the campus where students directly or indirectly affected by the earthquake can escape from the stress of the campus and receive support and guidance in their own language.

Turkish and Arabic-speaking volunteers are needed to provide support and guidance in this safe space; volunteers will go through a training arranged by U of T's Health & Wellness office. If you are interested in volunteering to support students in this way, please fill out this form:

Personal Support Services:
Mental Health Portal

Academic Support Service:
Undergraduate students
Graduate Students

Employee Family Assistance Program (1-855-597-2110)

Organizations to Support

Local organizations:
Turkish Red Crescent
The White Helmets
The Ahbap  Association

Canadian organizations:
Global Medic
Unicef Canada
Red Cross Canada
Doctors Without Borders