How you can help support relief efforts following the deadly Turkey-Syria earthquake

Written by Amy Beecham

Aid workers and authorities are currently undertaking dangerous rescue missions after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Turkey and Syria on Monday. 

Fatalities following the devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkey on 6 February could reach more than 20,000 in the coming days, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced.

Currently, the death toll stands at 5,021, but it is expected to rise dramatically as rescue crews struggle to dig for survivors. More than 20,000 people were injured after the magnitude 7.8 quake – Turkey’s deadliest since 1999 – hit early on Monday, toppling thousands of buildings, including many apartment blocks, wrecking hospitals and leaving thousands of people homeless in Turkish and Syrian cities.

The first tremor was centred on the Turkish town of Pazarcik, which is around 60 miles north of the Syrian border and close to the major city of Gaziantep. It was followed around nine hours later by a 7.5-magnitude quake, which struck roughly 80 miles further north in the town of Elbistan.

Aftershocks and bitterly cold weather are also hampering rescue efforts and leaving what the WHO estimates as 23 million people across the two countries “exposed”, including over 1 million children.

According to Oxfam, which has launched an appeal to help affected people, the “vast” destruction has not only killed scores but has created a nightmare situation for survivors. “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 based in Ankara, Turkey.

To help with relief efforts, international aid is currently being sent to the affected region from the UN, EU, Nato and the governments of the US, UK, China, Russia, India, Japan, Iraq, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Pakistan, among others.

How you can help victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake

The British Red Cross, which is part of the wider International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, is raising funds to support its sister charity the Turkish Red Crescent (TRC). To donate to the British Red Cross Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, visit the charity’s website.     

Oxfam has also announced its own appeal, although at present it says it is “establishing an overview of humanitarian needs” rather than providing direct on-the-ground assistance. To donate to its appeal, visit its website.

Islamic Relief, which is already on the ground in both countries, says its teams in Turkey are “providing emergency food assistance, shelter and cash grants” in a bid to help the “worst affected to meet their immediate needs”.

Meanwhile, in Syria, it says its priority is “providing health and medical supplies to hospitals and clinics, as well as blankets and tents for those made homeless by the quake”. The charity adds that it is “continuing to assess the situation as it evolves” and is in the process of “making preparations to provide emergency support”. To make a donation, visit Islamic Relief’s Türkiye-Syria Earthquake Appeal website.

Choose Love has launched an urgent appeal to fund search and rescue teams, tents, blankets, heaters, food, water, medical supplies and much more to keep people alive. You can donate via its website. 

Save the Children says it is working closely with partner organisations to assess the scale of the damage to provide support that children desperately need as the situation becomes clearer. You can donate to its emergency fund here.

Images: Getty

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