How you can help the earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria
Ever since the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit south-east Turkey and northern Syria, the countries have continued to face grim challenges.
The confirmed death toll has surpassed 15,000 and it is expected to continue to rise significantly as rescue efforts continue.
The world has rallied by sending search-and-rescue teams. Freezing temperatures have hampered rescue efforts and worsened the chances of survival for those trapped under the thousands of collapsed buildings.
Rescue crews from Britain are now on the scene. As the rest of the country wonders how they can help, here are some pointers.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is working in north-west Syria to provide life-saving medical care.
“In the first hours of the disaster, our teams treated around 200 wounded and we received 160 casualties in the facilities and the clinics that we run or support in northern Idlib,” says Sebastien Gay, MSF head of mission in Syria. “ Our ambulances are also deployed to assist people.”
On Tuesday morning, the organisation announced that an MSF staff member was found dead under the rubble of his house in Syria’s Idlib province. Other members of the organisation are said to have lost family members.
You can donate to MSF here
British Red Cross
The British Red Cross has launched an emergency appeal to aid evacuation efforts and provide emergency first aid in conjunction with the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent. Together, they have launched a crisis response in 10 regions in Turkey and the Hama, Aleppo and Latakia regions in Syria.
“The priority right now is rescuing people from the rubble and Red Cross Red Crescent teams are on the ground in Syria and Turkey,” says Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross. The Turkish Red Crescent immediately provided mobile kitchen and catering vehicles, tents and blankets to the worst-hit region.
You can donate to the British Red Cross here
Unicef has begun to offer aid to children and families in Syria, prioritising emergency shelter, water and sanitation. The organisation is working “round the clock” to support children who have lost their homes or been separated from their families, and is “ready to support the response in [Turkey] as and when requested by the government.”
Unicef spokesman James Elder said they anticipate the quakes will have killed “thousands of children” but are unable to give a more accurate figure as rescue efforts continue.
You can donate to Unicef here
Save the Children
Save the Children is collecting donations for an emergency fund that will support children in both countries. “Save the Children’s teams on the ground are planning to support affected communities with winterization and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing,” the charity said.
You can donate to Save the Children here
Oxfam has also launched an appeal and is working on a plan for immediate and longer-term aid for earthquake victims along with partner organisations in Turkey and Syria. This is expected to include immediate water and sanitation, shelter and food support.
You can donate to Oxfam here
The White Helmets
The White Helmets is a volunteer organisation that formed in 2014 in response to the Syrian Civil War. It continues to provide search-and-rescue, evacuation and other essential services to civilians and is taking donations to aid its work in rescuing earthquake victims in North West Syria.
You can donate to the White Helmets here
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has teams present in Turkey and Syria and responding with emergency relief items including high thermal blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets, plastic sheeting, Jerry cans, sleeping mats, winter clothing kits and winter jackets. UNHCR is supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey, Turkish host communities and Syrians displaced within their own country.
You can donate to UNHCR here