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Earthquake in Turkey: How to help victims and donate to local and international relief agencies

Looking for local and national organizations to donate to Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims? Here are a few options.

A rescue team works on a collapsed building, following an earthquake in Iskenderun, Turkey February 6, 2023. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

The consequences of the unprecedented 7.8 earthquakes that devastated eastern Turkey and western Syria cannot be understated.Since Sunday night, thousands have been confirmed dead, and many on the ground expect the figure to rise as bodies are pulled from the mountains of rubble left behind by the disaster.

One of the cities in Syria affected by the earthquake was Aleppo, whose residents have been terrorized by hundreds of bombings throughout the country’s civil war, which began in 2011.

The violence of the war has led millions of refugees to seek refuge in Turkey, and now the earthquake’s damage has left millions in both countries even more dependent on humanitarian assistance. Donations to the International Red Cross, the International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, and other major organizations are one way to help. Additionally, funds can be sent to local and national organizations embedded in the communities impacted who stand ready to distribute economic aid and critical materials like food, water, blankets, clothes, and more.

Where can I donate?

Many hospitals have been affected by the earthquake, further limiting their ability to render aid to those injured. First responders from local, national, and international organizations have flooded the area to provide support, and this guide will look at three organizations accepting donations.

Read more from AS USA:

AKUT - Leader in Search and Rescue

AKUT is described as the number one search and rescue organization in Turkey.

The disaster response organization is made up of “200 permanent members and another 2000 volunteer members,” who use “state-of-the-art technology that can be mobilized in an instant.” Very quickly after news of the earthquake broke, AKUT teams began to assemble.

The organization was founded in 1994, and in 2011 AKUT became the first Turkish member of the United Nations International Search and Rescue Advisory Group.

Those outside of Turkey can send donations through AKUT’s website.

For those in Turkey with one of the following mobile carriers, TURKCELL, VODAFONE, or AVEA, a blank text 2930 to donate 10 Turkish lira ($0.53).

AHBAP - Cooperative Network

AHBAP is a Turkish organization that describes itself as a “cooperation movement that works with value systems based on solidarity, sharing, and belonging.”

The network provides “all kinds of aid” to those in need, including cash transfers and in-kind support. Through their support, they seek “to create contemporary and sustainable networks of cooperation and solidarity” that uses new models that ensure they “protect local cultures.”

Donations can be sent through their website as well. The organization has also created and will update a list of community centers and businesses that have opened their doors to those seeking refuge.

Turkish streamers, including leftist commentator Hasan Piker, have created a donation portal for those looking to donate in US dollars. As of Monday evening, the group had already raised $440,000 for AHBAP.

Union of Medicare Care and Relief Organizations

The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations (UOSSM) was established in 2012 to coordinate better the actions of “humanitarian, non-governmental, and medical organizations from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, and Turkey.”

The members work together by pooling their resources “to provide independent and impartial relief and medical care to victims of war in Syria.” The Union has also been quick to begin targeting relief for victims of this catastrophic earthquake. The organization also reported that four hospitals in Syria were damaged during the earthquake and had to be evacuated, limiting their capacity to care for the victims. The hospitals that are able to accept patients are overwhelmed and in need of critical support.

Donations to the UOSSM in US Dollars can be made through their website. Donations to be made in currencies that are not US Dollars must use this portal.

Those that would like to make a direct bank transfer can find that information on the UOSSM’s website as well.