Turkey and Syria Earthquakes: Where to Donate and How to Help
As buildings collapsed under the weight of infrastructural damage following two massive earthquakes in Turkey and northern Syria on Monday, Feb. 6, thousands were left dead, with others trapped beneath the rubble as the death toll continues to rise steadily.
At the time of publication, at least 5,000 people are dead in the aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude initial earthquake and the 7.5 magnitude aftershock. “Hundreds of thousands of people are impacted by this,” meteorologist Karen Maginnis said on CNN. “It is cold. It is rainy. Roads could be impacted, that means your food, your livelihood, the care for your children, the care for your family.”
In this situation, time is of the essence, and the path ahead is cluttered with complicated after effects. “Anything as far as crops or anything growing across this region will be impacted as well,” Maginnis added. “The ramifications of this are broad and will impact this region for weeks, and months.” While rescue efforts remain underway on the ground in both countries, the disaster marks the worst Turkey has faced since recording its deadliest earthquake in 1999, which killed 18,000, and its most powerful since 1939.
Below, local and global organizations that specialize in preparing for and responding to large-scale disasters, many particularly in Syria and Turkey, aid in providing outlets for donations and support.
AKUT Search and Rescue Association
Founded in 1996, AKUT is the leading search and rescue organization in Turkey with locations in 32 provinces, supported by 200 permanent members and thousands of volunteers. The organization trains to be prepared for the moment when catastrophe strikes, given the unsuspected nature of natural disasters.
“AKUT has been at the affected disaster zone from the beginning with 641 volunteers as well as search canines,” AKUT wrote on their official website. “So far, we have taken part in rescuing 39 people from under collapsed structures and we are determined to continue our mission until we know that we have everything in our power to help rescue lives. You can support us by wire donations directly to our bank accounts.”
Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets)
Better known as the White Helmets, the Syria Civil Defence is a humanitarian organization established in 2012 to aid in the preparation for and response to destructive events in Syria. Operating under the mantra “To save a life is to save all of humanity,” the White Helmets specializes in search and rescue missions as well as essential services ranging from neighborhood rehabilitation to community safety.
“There is an urgent need for additional search and rescue equipment, heavy equipment, spare parts and fuel due to the number of collapsed buildings and to the damage to existing equipment,” the Syria Civil Defence wrote in a statement. “White Helmets equipment and supplies are not currently sufficient to meet these urgent needs. The White Helmets calls on all humanitarian organizations and international donors to provide material support and to help organizations responding to this disaster and to urgently assist victims of the earthquake.”
Donate to Syria Civil Defence (The White Helmets)
Molham Volunteering Team
The Turkey-based Molham Volunteering Team with founded in 2012 by a group of Syrian students hoping to respond to humanitarian catastrophes with basic food, shelter, and medical assistance. The charitable organization is run by 70 employees with the help of more than 300 volunteers.
“At these moments, our displaced families in northern Syria and Turkey are in dire need of our help and contribution by securing alternative housing for them and their urgent needs, and compensating them for what befell them in light of the snow storms affecting the region,” Molham Team wrote on the website for the emergency campaign launched in response to the earthquakes.
Donate to Molham Volunteering Team
Since it was first established in 1942, Oxfam has grown into a global movement combating poverty and injustice. Working with local partner organizations, Oxfam has issues an urgent appeal for assistance in Turkey and Syria. The emergency response includes immediate and long-term support, including water, food, shelter, and reconstruction.
“The scale of destruction is vast,” Ankara-based Oxfam spokesperson Meryem Aslan shared in a statement. “Following two big earthquakes and over 60 aftershocks, people are still in shock and fear, they don’t even have time to mourn the lost ones.”
Founded in 2017, Ahbap pools together volunteers to aid in social and environmental responses in Turkey as a charity organization. The official Ahbap website highlights a map of safe locations around the earthquake disaster areas including local businesses and institutions opening their doors to effected citizens.
“Sending aid by trucks unconsciously, except for the lists of needs to be published by AFAD and governorships, may harm the work in the #deprem region,” Ahbap shared on Twitter. “You can donate to bank accounts shared by official institutions and NGOs to support the work in the region.”
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