Monday, February 6, 2023

How to help after devastating earthquake in SE Turkey and Syria

[Updated 14 February]

We woke up Monday morning in Istanbul to devastating news from southeast Turkey and Syria, where a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks overnight have now left more than 30,000 people dead in Turkey and an additional 3,000 in Syria, with tens of thousands injured and the death tolls still expected to rise further. Thousands of buildings have been destroyed or damaged, included historical structures. Here’s some reliable ways you can help:

Donate money to NGOs working on the ground in Turkey:

(** links are best bets for donating from outside Turkey/with international credit cards. For reference, 500 TL = 26.50 USD / 25 EUR / 22 GBP / 35.50 CAD)

** Donate to the esteemed Turkish volunteer search and rescue organization AKUT (Türkçe'de bağışlar:

** Donate to reliable civil society groups that are providing immediate relief and medium- to long-term recovery to survivors via UK-based Turkey Mozaik Foundation or US-based Turkish Philanthropy Funds (100% of donations go to recovery efforts in both cases).

Donate to the Istanbul Medical Chamber to buy medical supplies and containers for doctors to stay in while volunteering the earthquake zones. They are sending regular convoys of volunteer and supplies by car from Istanbul.

** Donate to the volunteer response being carried out in Turkey by the trusted, independent NGOs İhtiyaç Haritası (Needs Map) or Ahbap

** Donate to Hayata Destek (Support to Life), a Turkish NGO experienced in providing humanitarian relief and working with underserved communities. 

** Donate to the Lubunya Deprem Dayanışması solidarity fund to help LGBTQ+ people impacted by the earthquakes, or to the Aman Project specifically to help affected LGBTQ+ refugees. (Depremden etkilenmiş ve destek ihtiyaç olan LGBTQ+ kişiler yardım başvurusu yapabilir burada.)

Donate to efforts to help animals in the disaster zone coordinated by Dört Ayaklı Şehir (Four-Legged City), an organization recommended by a good friend of mine who is active with animal rights in Turkey. A Turkish vet friend recommends the Work Animals Rescue Foundation, which is doing similar work helping farm animals, street animals, and pets.

Donate goods in Turkey:

Donate NEW winter clothes/shoes, blankets, sleeping bags, diapers, baby formula, food parcels, hygiene supplies, heaters, generators, etc. at collection points set up by local/district/city officials. Check their social media accounts for the latest needs before buying/delivering: 
  • Cihangir Semt Konağı (inside the İspark garage below Cihangir Park, upstairs next to the health center) 
  • İBB Logistic Centers in Yenikapı and Kartal (call ALO 153 for details) - OPEN 24/7
  • Kadıköy Belediyesi Başkanlığı building (Fahrettin Kerim Gökay Cd. No:2 in Hasanpaşa)
  • Şişli Belediyesi Başkanlığı building (Darülaceze Cd. No:8 in Şişli Merkez) - OPEN 24/7
A full list of official collection points for earthquake aid in each Istanbul district has been posted on Instagram by Turkish Dictionary.

Buy tents, hygiene packs, coats, boots, blankets, sleeping bags, food packages, etc. online to be sent to the quake areas with İzmir municipality teams (try Firefox browser instead of Chrome).

Volunteer in Turkey:

Donate blood at Kızılay sites around Turkey:

Multiple NGOs operating under the Afet Platformu umbrella are coordinating volunteer efforts for humanitarian relief in affected cities. If you speak Turkish and are willing to volunteer, fill out this form: 

You can also sign up for Afet Platformu's donor pool and get updates on the latest needs.

Have an empty home/apartment you're willing to open up to a displaced family? Want to provide rent support to displaced people? Know someone who lost their home and needs somewhere to live? Apply to the Bir Kira Bir Yuva (One Rent, One Home) website set up by the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality and the charity İhtiyaç Haritası (Needs Map).

Thousands of refugees live in the affected parts of Turkey. If you can speak Persian or Arabic and want to help, contact the Göçmen Sendikası Girişimi.

If you speak multiple languages and are willing to work with or volunteer for international rescue and relief team or media organizations, you can sign up to this directory created by the Foreign Media Association in Turkey.

Donate to rescue and relief efforts in Syria:

** To support rescue and recovery efforts in Syria, donate to the White Helmets, the Syrian American Medical Society, Molham Team, the Syrian Child Protection Network (Hurras)Choose Love or Basmeh Zeitooneh (the latter two are also working in Turkey).

** Support the engineers at Field Ready Türkiye (Sahaya Hazır İnovasyon Derneği) who work in Gaziantep, Turkey, and northwest Syria. Among other things, they make cheap, low-tech airbags for search and rescue from buildings which have collapsed. "If we move fast they can make more," a good friend who previously worked with the team writes. "The workshops in Syria also have vast experience of fixing essential medical equipment, and making insulated shelters - both greatly needed right now."

Spread (good) information:

If you know people in the affected cities who have been left without shelter, some hotels and other accommodation facilities are offering free places to stay for earthquake victims. And here's a map of other places offering shelter and support.

Add locations of collapsed and heavily damaged buildings to this GIS map so teams can reach them more quickly.

Be careful about sharing information if you don't know the source; check with Teyit or Doğruluk Payı – both members of the International Fact-Checking Network – to see if claims on social media have been verified.

This post is a work-in-progress, I’ll be updating it as I can.

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