European bank staff in final push to get Turkish earthquake relief fund up to £750K

Turkish staff at the European Bank for Reconstruction  and Development (EBRD) are hoping to raise three quarters of a million pounds to help their compatriots overcome the devastating impact of two catastrophic earthquakes that hit Turkiye a fortnight ago.

In the early hours of Monday, 6 February, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Gaziantep, followed by a second 7.5 earthquake in neighbouring Kahramanmaraş less than ten hours later.

The two earthquakes are the worst in modern Turkiye’s history, killing at least 50,000 people in the region, injuring over 110,000 and leaving millions more displaced.

Ten provinces in Turkiye’s southeast have been impacted by this huge natural disaster, an area that is home to around 14 million people, including around 2 million Syrian refugees. Even before the earthquake struck, this region had serious socio-economic challenges, including big income disparities among the population and high levels of poverty.

As a result, the earthquake, striking during the bitter winter months, has left Turkish and Syrian communities even more vulnerable, without basic needs and vital infrastructure. Although some people have been moved to other cities or to makeshift camps, thousands of women, children, and elderly people are still in need of tents, heating and basic humanitarian support.

Map of Turkiye regions impacted by the 6 Feb. 2023 earthquake


Turkish nationals living abroad were the first to respond to the urgent need for aid to help alleviate the immediate needs of the many earthquake victims in southeast Turkiye and northwest Syria.

Within 24 hours of the earthquake, a group of employees at the EBRD came together to launch their own fundraiser on the Crowdfunder site. All proceeds from their appeal will go to local municipalities and grassroot civil society groups in Turkiye that are officially accredited by the AFET (disaster) Platform via the Needs Map (İhtiyaç Haritası), with the money given to “priority needs that can create sustainable impact wherever possible.”

In addition to Needs Map, the designated civil society organisations to be included for aid include AKUT (Search and Rescue Association), Hayata Destek (Support to Life), ACEV (Mother Child Education Foundation) and Darussafaka Society.

Given the exceptional and desperate situation created by the twin earthquakes, EBRD bosses have pledged to triple the first €250,000 raised in donations. It means every pound donated to the EBRD Employee Earthquake Relief Fund is equivalent to three pounds, potentially an additional £500,000 top-up relief from the EBRD Special Community Fund. Any donations above the €250,000 target will be matched by the Bank.

Click to donate to the EBRD Earthquake Relief Fund for Turkiye

Initially, the EBRD staff set a modest target for their appeal, but with hundreds of people quickly responding with donations, the target was stretched to enable greater funds to be raised.

The target has been stretched one final time to £250,000, meaning the total raised could be as high as £0.75 million, with EBRD tripling whatever is in the pot when the appeal ends on 4 March.

One of the EBRD staff members involved in the appeal is Associate Director Şükran Çağlayan Mumcu, who is the wife of T-VINE music writer Barış Mumcu.

Şükran explained how their EBRD fundraiser differs to other appeals, while also urging people to help spread the word and to donate, as EBRD is expected to continue to match funding the appeal.

“After the disaster struck, we Turks abroad and in Turkiye were all fully locked into the earthquake. Like many others, my colleagues at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and I also started a campaign to help the earthquake victims.

“Initially, we launched the campaign internally to all bank staff operating in more than 30 countries, we then extended the fundraiser to all external stakeholders to increase our impact.

“We know people have received many invitations to help with fundraising from all kinds of charities, but I really hope they can also back the EBRD one because their money will go far further.

“Firstly, the EBRD has agreed to pay treble the donation we will collect. In other words, every 1 pound a person gives, EBRD will add another two pounds, so the donation is worth 3 pounds. The Bank will continue to match fund any donations above €250,000, so we can really raise huge amounts.

“Also, every penny that is raised will be used for earthquake relief. As the EBRD is an international bank, your donation is tax-free and no deductions will be made.

“Thirdly, the donations collected will be given to known and respected NGOs, who operate transparently and effectively in their respective fields, and have internal/external audit mechanisms.”Şükran stated.

“Finally, the EBRD Community Initiative Committee will financially and technically oversee every penny collected, so donor can have total confidence that their money will be spent in the most effective way possible in this crisis,” Şükran added.

Click here if you’d like to contribute to the EBRD Earthquake Relief Fund for Turkiye.


Main image, cropped image from the 6 February 2023 earthquake in Kahramanmaraş, Turkiye. Photo © Oguzhan Edman / Unsplash