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Charities mobilise to raise funds for earthquake-stricken Turkey and Syria

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UK government will match the first £2 million of donations, Scottish Government gives £500k to DEC

An urgent appeal has been launched by the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) to raise funds to help people affected by the devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

Earthquakes in the region had killed more than 21,500 as this was published and injured many more. 

DEC charities and their local partners were among the first responders, working with locally-led relief efforts.

Immediate priorities were medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, as well as blankets, warm clothes and heaters for safe spaces. They are also ensuring people have enough food and clean water.  

The DEC brings together 15 leading aid charities at times of crisis overseas. Fourteen of these are responding in Turkey and Syria including British Red Cross, ActionAid and Save the Children. 

Appeals to raise funds to support this work will be broadcast on the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky today (9 February) following the evening news. BBC radio appeals will be broadcast throughout the day. 

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: “The devastation in Turkey and Syria is heartbreaking, with thousands of people losing loved ones suddenly in the most shocking of ways.  

“In Turkey alone, 6,000 buildings including schools and health centres have collapsed, with infrastructure vital to everyday life such as sanitation and water supplies badly damaged. 

“Funds are urgently needed to support families with medical aid, emergency shelter, food and clean water in freezing, snowy conditions. Fourteen of our member charities are responding now in Turkey and Syria and can do more with your help. 

“Of course, we know that money is tight for many people here in the UK as the cost-of-living crisis continues, but if you can, please do donate to support people caught up in this deadly disaster.” 

Salah Aboulgasem, deputy director of partner development at Islamic Relief, based in Gazientep, Turkey, said: “The priority right now is saving lives by clearing the rubble. The next priority is supporting people who have lost their homes and gone through huge trauma. People need medicines and warmth. There is a lot of screaming, people are trying to find relatives. 

“A lot of people are sleeping in cars because they are scared to go back into the buildings due to aftershocks. The cars are freezing cold. 

Islamic Relief have lots of local staff and a well-established programme in the area, they are working with mosques and schools to open shelters.” 

The UK government will match the first £2 million of donations from the British public to the DEC’s Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal to provide vital humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people affected by the disaster.  

The Scottish Government has given £500,000 towards disaster relief in the countries, with members of the Scottish emergency services also travelling to help.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We will provide £500,000 in humanitarian aid to the DEC appeal and members of the public can also pledge support and make donations to the appeal in a variety of ways and I encourage everyone to consider donating to the DEC if they can do so.”

Details of the DEC appeal are here.