People walk past collapsed buildings in Iskenderun, Turkey, on February 7 after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit near Gaziantep in the early hours of Monday, followed by another 7.5-magnitude tremor just after midday. Image: Burak Kara/Getty Images
Over 22,000 people have lost their lives in the aftermath of an earthquake in south-eastern Turkey on Monday. Affecting areas in both Syria and Turkey, the UN has warned emergency food supplies are running low. Rescue efforts are ongoing, with victims trapped under collapsed buildings. If you’re following the news and want to help in some way, there are a number of ways to do so.
The UK government has sent 76 search and rescue specialists along with four search dogs, as well as a military plane containing thermal blankets. As the official Turkish government response is criticised, rescue teams face a race against time. One woman was found alive after being trapped under rubble for 104 hours; a baby girl was found after 68.
Appeals for donations have sprung up to help them do so, while a number of organisations are now turning their focus to the lasting consequences of the disaster.
Here’s a list of the help you can provide to support those in Turkey and Syria
Donate to rescue efforts in Turkey and Syria
The rescue efforts on the ground are being led by the Turkish Red Crescent and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has launched an appeal asking for 200 million Swiss Francs – 80 million for Syria and 120 million for Turkey – which equates to around £180 million.
Their efforts include providing basic aid items such as tents and blankets, as well as performing first aid and emergency medical evacuations.
“This earthquake caused unfathomable damage. Our worst fear is coming true. In this response, every minute counts,” said Xavier Castellanos, IFRC under secretary general for national society development and operations coordination.
“The vulnerabilities are coupled on top of harsh winter conditions, making it unbearable for many. The vulnerable living conditions, particularly in Syria, are even further stretched in a decade-long war. People who lost their homes and loved ones need our support. We must join forces and do our best to help.”
The British Red Cross has launched a specific emergency appeal following the earthquakes, having already released £25,000 to support rescue efforts.
“It is shocking to see the scale of destruction caused by this earthquake – more than a thousand people have been killed and homes, hospitals and roads have been destroyed across the region. The priority right now is rescuing people from the rubble and Red Cross Red Crescent teams are on the ground in Syria and Turkey providing urgent support during these critical hours,” said Mike Adamson, Chief Executive of the British Red Cross.
“The British Red Cross is launching an emergency appeal to help get vital aid to those that need it most. Please do give if you are able so we can support those in need.”
You can donate to the British Red Cross’s Turkey and Syria appeal here.
Another group with teams helping the victims of the earthquakes is Oxfam, which is working to find “the fastest, most appropriate humanitarian efforts”.
“It is a double tragedy for survivors having to cope too with the cold and who will be unable to sleep outside. It is horrifying to contemplate how people will even be able to cope, given that some areas are even now in snow,” said Meryem Aslan, an Oxfam spokesperson in Ankara.
Oxfam does not consider sending blankets and clothing from the UK to be cost effective, and instead asks for a cash donation – in part to help stimulate the local economy and reduce the environmental impact of donations.
In Syria, the White Helmets – known for their work during the country’s civil war – are helping victims of the earthquakes. Volunteers have been working, using chainsaws to reach trapped civilians under piles of rubble.
“We need a massive amount of help because we simply cannot handle this catastrophe on our own,” volunteer Ismail Abdalla told the Independent.
The White Helmets receive funding from the UK government, but you can also donate here.
Save The Children
The earthquake and its aftershocks could impact 1.4 million children, according to warnings from Save The Children. The charity is working to provide equipment including blankets and winterisation kits.
“It is incredibly cold in Syria right now. We are extremely concerned that many people, including children, could still be trapped under rubble. Others are still homeless and making do with what they can, including sleeping in cars. We are particularly worried about children sleeping outside in freezing temperatures,” said Kathryn Achilles, advocacy media and communications director for Save the Children Syria.
To support Save the Children’s response efforts you can donate here.
Action Against Hunger
Plummeting temperatures, falling snow, and widespread disruption means access to food is a critical issue in the wake of a disaster.
International Action Against Hunger has launched an appeal as its teams investigate the best way to provide emergency aid.
Turkish NGO Ahbap was founded by musician Haluk Levent. It has previously worked to support victims of other natural disasters, including in the aftermath of a flood in Giresun, when it managed to help 1,000 families.
Comprised of groups including the British Red Cross, Oxfam, Save the Children, and Action Aid, the UK-based Disasters Emergency Committee has launched a specific Turkey-Syria appeal.
These donations will provide food, blankets, and medical aid to survivors of the earthquake. Any donations, up to the first £5m, will also be matched by the UK government. The King has donated an unspecified but “generous” amount to the appeal.
A few years ago, you might have thought people sitting in their bedrooms playing video games in front of a camera would have been unlikely humanitarian fundraisers. But times have changed – streaming can be a force for good.
That’s been emphatically demonstrated by US-based Hasan Piker – better known as Hasanabi. Together with fellow streamer Jahren, he’s spearheaded what is essentially a Gen Z telethon, raising over $1.1million along the way.
Fellow streaming bigwigs Ethan Klein, Faze Clan, PlayerUnknown and Speed have all chipped in, with the money from the Softgiving platform going to CARE Turkey, CARE Syria, AKUT, and Ahbap.