A week on from the devastating twin earthquakes that hit Turkiye’s southeast and northwest Syria, and the scale of the devastation has become far more acute.
Türkiye and Syria were hit by 7.8 Richter magnitude earthquake in the early hours of 6 February 2023, with its epicentre near the Turkish city of Gaziantep. This was followed by dozens of aftershocks and then, less than 12 hours later, a second major earthquake hit the region measuring 7.5 on the Richter scale.
These combined tremors have led to a severe loss of life, and massive damage to infrastructure, from roads to hospitals, as well as thousands of homes, which have been destroyed or are now deemed unsafe for habitation.
In Türkiye, at the present time of 14 February, at least 31,643 people have lost their lives in areas such as Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Diyarbakır, Adana, Adıyaman, Osmaniye, Hatay, Kilis, Malatya and Elazığ.
Over Turkiye’s southeast border and into Syria, at least 7,500 people have lost their lives, mainly in Aleppo, Hama, and Lattakia.
The freezing cold weather conditions means earthquake survivors now left homeless also have to battle the elements.
As news broke of the devastating earthquakes, grassroots groups from the UK’s Turkish and Syrian communities, aided by many others, have been working hard to collect vital items to send to the worst affected areas.
Within the first 24 hours, Aziziye Mosque in Stoke Newington, West London Turkish Volunteers, and others spread across London and southern England had collected 10 tonnes of aid, which were sent by plane to Turkiye.
The Edmonton-headquartered British Alevi Federation, Day-Mer, the Council of Turkish Cypriot Associations UK, Turkish Cypriot Community Association, the Metropolitan Turkish Police Association, Shacklewell Lane Mosque and many more have been working flat out to get essential aid and funds to the victims.
Collection points have been established across the capital and beyond with truck lots of hundreds of parcels have been dispatched. People have been advised to follow the notices on the social media pages for the Turkish Embassy in London, to ensure the aid collected targets what is required.
Currently, there are no storage facilities in the earthquake zones and as aid workers on the ground in Turkiye are seeing, unwanted donations of clothes and other items are simply left unused.
Many are turning their focus to donations of money, to ensure the major charities and others closest to the affected regions can purchase and transport the vital aid needed.
Here is a list of reputable charities that people can donate to (click on charity name to visit their website or funding page):
Molham – a Jordan-based charity that specialises in helping internally displaced people in Syria and Syrian refugees, and is now providing aid for earthquake victims.
The White Helmets – is a well-known volunteer-led organisation that has been helping those affected by the war in Syria, and is now providing massive resources to those impacted by the earthquake.
Ahbap – rock star Haluk Levent’s charity has been doing philanthropic work in Turkiye for years. Ahbap is one of the most trusted and best placed organisations to help earthquake victims both in the near and long-term.
Turkey Mozaik Foundation – a UK registered charity seeking to create positive social change in Turkiye, but providing grants to grassroots civil society across the country.
Turkish Red Crescent – a long-established humanitarian relief organisation that leads on providing support during times of mass human crisis.
DEC (Disasters Emergency Committee) – The DEC brings together 15 leading UK aid charities, such as Save the Children, Islamic Relief and British Red Cross, to raise funds quickly and efficiently at times of crisis overseas, where people are in life-and-death situations.
Main image, top, shows the aftermath of the earthquake in Hatay, Turkiye, where a man waits in the middle of the rescue area to find his daughter on 10 Feb. 2023. Photo © Yunus Dalgic/NurPhoto/Shutterstock