A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake shook Syria and Turkey at 4:17 am local time on February 6. This was followed by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake and dozens of aftershocks.
The quakes collapsed thousands of buildings, killing more than 2,100 people so far, according to the New York Times. With freezing temperatures and snow on the ground, survivors are left without food, water, and warm shelter.
The humanitarian crisis is compounded by years of war and conflict, poor structural integrity for buildings, an ongoing refugee crisis, and economic concerns.
At Good Good Good, our mission is to help readers feel more hopeful and do more good. We’re actively working to compile a list of the best action steps you can take to make a difference for earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria.
We’ve also created an article dubbed ‘Hope in the Heartbreak: How To Respond To Tragic News & Events’ — which dives into our recommended process for processing bad news:
- Mourn — It’s okay to mourn and feel a true sense of empathy around the heartbreak.
- Look for the Helpers — Mister Rogers reminds us that there is good news out there, if only we can seek it out.
- Take Action — When we take action, it makes a difference in the lives of others and reminds us that we are not powerless.
Take a moment to process the news, then read on to celebrate the organizations and individuals making a difference, then, if you’re able, get involved and make a difference.
How to help the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria
The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation
Great for: Specialized disaster response in conflict zones
The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation (IBC) is a relief organization that has had “Special Consultative Status” with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations since 2006. They have a long track record of providing emergency relief after natural disasters and in conflict zones.
According to IBC, the organization has already begun relief efforts in the cities of Gaziantep, responding to Gaziantep and Kahramanmaras, the epicenter of the disaster; Hatay, where significant damage has been reported; Kilis, serving Northern Syria; and Diyarbakir, Malatya, and Sanliurfa.
They say their most urgent needs at this moment are:
- Heaters for the tents
- Tens of thousands of blankets
- Thermal clothing
- Ready-to-eat food
- Basic first-aid kits
You can learn more about IBC’s emergency response efforts and make a donation on the Global Giving website.
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations
Great for: Emergency medical support
Since 2012, the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM) has provided emergency medical relief and healthcare services to Syrians (inside Syria and in neighboring Turkey as refugees) who have been affected by the war and humanitarian crises in Syria.
UOSSM plans to provide shelter, medical aid, food, and sources for heat in the short-term, and to continue their efforts in the region long-term.
You can learn more about UOSSM’s emergency response efforts and make a donation at their website.
Great for: Clean water, sanitation, and hygiene support
As you’re reading this, Mercy Corps is already responding in the region where this tragedy happened. The organization has a long track record of providing aid and support in the region, having worked in Syria since 2008 providing things like food, water, shelter, sanitation, and other assistance to displaced Syrians.
In response to the earthquake, Mercy Corps is meeting immediate needs for clean water, sanitation, and hygiene support.
You can donate to support their efforts via their website.
Great for: Food and shelter from winter weather
For 75 years, CARE has provided aid to some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Alongside their partners, they work in 111 countries, impacting more than 174 million people around the world through 1,600 projects.
A key piece of their humanitarian work is crisis and disaster response ensuring the essential needs of people impacted are met.
Immediately following the news of the earthquake, CARE jumped into action to rush emergency aid including food, shelter, hygiene kits, warm weather supplies, and cash assistance.
You can help them provide these essential needs with a donation at Care.org.
The White Helmets
Great for: Grassroots Syrian emergency response
The White Helmets is a grassroots volunteer group that activates immediately in risky situations, especially during conflict, saving over 100,000 lives over the past five years. Named for their noticeable white helmets, this group rescues folks from rubble, fixes electrical grids, clears roads, and even removes unexploded weapons from civilian areas.
This earthquake is no exception.
The three-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated team is once again mobilizing with life-saving support. Donate what you can via the group’s website.
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation
Great for: Emergency food bundles, support for Syria’s refugee camps
A Turkish NGO that has long provided humanitarian relief in the face of war, conflict, hunger, and climate disasters, the IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation is currently preparing and distributing emergency food bundles and serving hot soup from its mobile kitchen for those affected by the earthquake.
IHH donations will go to immediate humanitarian relief, especially as cold weather impacts rescue activities. You can make a donation via their website.
Turkish Red Crescent
Great for: First aid and social services
The Turkish Red Crescent is part of the International Red Cross and International Red Crescent, delivering emergency aid and social services in times of conflict and crisis.
As of early in the morning on February 6, the Turkish Red Crescent has directed its support to five mobile kitchens, and 71 catering vehicles, 38 emergency response vehicles, and has distributed over 1,100 tents, and nearly 18,000 blankets. to help the team of staff and volunteers keep up the momentum.
Syrian American Medical Society
Great for: Emergency medical support
The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) is a medical relief organization working on the front lines of crisis relief in Syria — and has quickly stepped into action following the earthquake.
According to a press release, SAMS has evacuated two hospitals and transferred patients to protect them from the damage caused by the earthquake. While SAMS doctors continue to provide emergency medical care, they are overwhelmed with patients and have an immediate need for trauma supplies and a comprehensive emergency response from its partners.
You can make a donation via their website.
Save The Children
Great for: Emergency response for children
Quick to respond in crisis, Save The Children supports the most at-risk group: children. Already on the ground, Save The Children is helping affected communities with emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing.
You can donate to The Children’s Emergency Fund via their website.
Call for government aid
Hospitals and medical facilities in Turkey and Syria are already overwhelmed (and were struggling before the earthquake) and will need support to continue to function and save lives during this crisis.
UOSSM is calling on world governments to release funds to respond to this tragedy.
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy says, “The United States stands ready to help in the rescue efforts.”
You can help ensure that funds are released quickly and effectively by calling your elected leaders and telling them this is important to you. This is valuable and important even after a decision has been made to provide funding and support, as it encourages leaders to react quickly for future tragedies.
Follow our guide on how to call your elected officials.
According to Daily Sabah, in January, blood reserves in Turkey had already fallen below the minimum level of 50,000, to only 35,000 units. If you’re in Turkey, you can donate blood with the Turkish Red Crescent.
If you’re based in other locations around the world, you can donate blood through the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent.
Consume local news
Stick with reliable sources about the earthquake — which includes local news outlets.
- A News is a world news outlet based in Turkey, providing live updates from Syria and Turkey — as well as international aid efforts.
- Daily Sabah is a Turkish publication providing nationwide and international coverage.
Visit reputable and reliable global news sources
We know it can be hard to stay informed and to consume the news intentionally in times of crisis. One way to do this is to choose reliable global news sources to trust for big-picture updates.
- The BBC is a great source to find ongoing coverage of the earthquake.
- Al-Jazeera shares timed updates by the hour (and sometimes, by the minute) of global events and crises.
Read and share good news
At Good Good Good, when crisis strikes, we help readers “look for the helpers.” In addition to the emergency responses from nonprofits and organizations listed above, here are a few glimpses of hope within the heartbreak:
- Israel is sending humanitarian aid to the disaster epicenter, including to Syria: its old enemy
- Several more countries and governing bodies are stepping up to help, including: China, the EU, Germany, Greece, India, Iran, Italy, NATO, Norway, Poland, Qatar, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, the UN, the UK, the U.S., and the W.H.O.
- Watch this video of a recovery worker rescuing a young girl
- Consider sharing this article with others on social media or via email.
This is a developing story — we will continue to update this article as we have more information
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