On February 6, two earthquakes struck southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border, with magnitudes 7.8 and 7.5. Three days later the death toll surpassed 15,000. The World Health Organization projects 20,000 losses. Many fear much more. Tens of thousands are injured, hundreds of thousands are displaced. These are not numbers, but human lives.
The devastation spans cities: Kahramanmaras, Hatay, Gaziantep, Diyarbakir, Sanliurfa, Malatya, Adana, Adiyaman, Mardin, Aleppo, Sarmada… Homes, hospitals, hotels, schools are reduced to rubble. For those who are still trapped under, there is not much hope remaining. Those who have been rescued are now enduring near-freezing temperatures. Many of them are in need of food and water, as well as urgent medical supplies, while mourning for their loved ones—children, parents, spouses, siblings, neighbors, friends, even entire families.
There are a lot of questions regarding the hows and whys: the fault lines around Turkey and Syria, the power of the earthquake and the aftershocks, the breadth of the destruction, the poor infrastructure, the lack of preparation, the obstacles to rescue and relief efforts, the delays in government response, the political tensions… All valid questions and concerns.
For a moment though I’d like to set them aside to simply provide a list of organizations for those who are able and would like to lend a helping hand:
AKUT is a voluntary, non-governmental organization in Turkey leading the search, assist and rescue efforts.
Needs Map (Ihtiyac Haritasi) is assisting the needs on the ground in coordination with public institutions and delivering emergency needs (winter clothes, heaters, blankets, sanitary pads, diapers, clean water, and tents) to the survivors.
TOKTUT is delivering emergency food packages containing ready-to-eat meals to the survivors.
AHBAP a Turkish local voluntary network raising funds to help provide shelter, food, and medical supplies to those in need.
Bridge to Turkey is a charity which has set up a fundraising campaign to help with immediate assistance with food, water, warmth, and shelter. The next phase of their campaign will focus on the children impacted by the disaster, providing them with health services and education.
Turkey Mozaik Foundation, based in the UK, has launched an earthquake relief fund to recover from the devastating effects of the earthquake by supporting local NGOs.
Doctors Without Borders is responding to medical emergencies to save more lives.
OXFAM is working with women’s cooperatives in Turkey to determine an appropriate immediate and long-term response plan.
UNICEF is in Syria and Turkey and prioritizing water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition, and also focusing on helping unaccompanied children locate their families.
CARE is providing emergency aid including food, shelter, hygiene kits, cold weather supplies and cash assistance.
Thank you for bearing witness.