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Turkey-Syria earthquake: Here's how you can help the victims

As efforts to rescue people trapped under buildings are impeded by freezing temperatures, here's how you can help
Jordanians load a military plane with humanitarian aid for Syria at Marka military airport in Amman, on 8 February 2023 (AFP)

Rescue teams are racing against the clock to save people trapped under the rubble amid freezing temperatures after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit southeastern Turkey and northern Syria in the early hours of Monday.

By Wednesday, the confirmed death toll had exceeded 11,000 and was expected to rise significantly as rescue efforts have been impeded by severe weather conditions.

With more than 285 aftershocks recorded since the initial earthquake, the World Health Organization (WHO) fears that as many as 20,000 people may have died as a result of the tremors.

Charities and humanitarian organisations have warned that with almost 5,800 buildings destroyed in Turkey alone, the next 36 hours are critical in finding survivors.

"It's now a race against time," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief, has said.

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"Every minute, every hour that passes, the chances of finding survivors alive diminishes."

In response, charities have set up emergency funds and rescue teams have arrived in both Turkey and Syria.

These are just a few of the organisations that are operating on the ground and accepting donations:

Action for Humanity

Action for Humanity, the UK-based parent charity of Syria Relief, is on the ground in northwest Syria, where it is providing hot meals, health kits and vital medical care to affected families.

On Monday, the organisation announced that one of its doctors and her daughter had died in Syria's Idlib province. As of Wednesday, other members of the organisation were still reported missing. 

"With so many people displaced and the winter weather deteriorating, we are in a race against time to help people," said Othman Moqbel, Action For Humanity's chief executive officer.

“We call on the public and government to do all they can to support the thousands impacted - there has been over 100km of damage. This is an emergency of an unimaginable scale.”

You can donate to Action for Humanity here

Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief is working in Turkey and northwest Syria, where it is providing emergency medical assistance, shelter and cash grants to the worst affected.

In Syria's Idlib province the charity has said it is distributing blankets, sheets and mattresses that it has in stock, but has also warned that essential supplies are running low.

"People are still out in the streets - they don't have anything to go home to and we are all scared of aftershocks," said Mohammed Hamza, the head of Islamic Relief’s office in Idlib.

"People urgently need tents, food parcels and blankets. Hospitals are inundated with injured people, so we’re providing them with medicine and other supplies."

You can donate to Islamic Relief here

Human Appeal

Human Appeal is operating in both countries and providing hot meals, hygiene kits, winter kits and vital medical care to affected families.

"This is the worst earthquake since the devastating Izmit earthquake of 1999," said Ubeyd Sakin, Human Appeal's Turkey director.

"There is urgent need for shelter, food and winter items such as blankets, as temperatures in the area continue to drop."

You can donate to Human Appeal here

Doctors Without Borders 

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is working in northwest Syria and providing 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," said Sebastien Gay, MSF head of mission in Syria.

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 staff are said to have lost family members. 

MSF also has a team in Turkey's Gaziantep, near the epicentre of the earthquake.

You can donate to MSF 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


Unicef is offering aid to children and their families in Syria, prioritising emergency shelter, water and sanitation.

The organisation has said it 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 has warned that the quakes will have killed "thousands of children" but the UN charity is 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 winterisation and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing," the charity said. 

You can donate to Save the Children here

This article is available in French on French Middle East Eye edition.

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