UW Combined Fund Drive

February 6, 2023

Turkey-Syria earthquake: How to help

An aerial view of debris of a collapsed building after 7.8 magnitude earthquake hits Hatay, Turkey on February 6, 2023. (Photo by Ercin Erturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

More than 50,000 people are dead and thousands more injured after a powerful magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, Feb. 6. 

The disaster is being called one of the deadliest of this century. Officials of both countries are calling for international aid. 

The quake is one of the strongest to hit the region in more than 100 years, and was felt in as far as Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon. Multiple strong aftershocks have been felt across the region, including a severe aftershock measuring magnitude 7.5.

Search and rescue operations continue in near-freezing temperatures, complicated by the region’s difficult geography and geopolitics. Many people are using their bare hands to dig through rubble in search of survivors, as heavy machinery is scarce.

After the Quake: Scenes From Turkey and Syria (New York Times)

Although thousands have been rescued, and aid workers continue to pour into the region, officials expect the death and injury toll to rise, particularly in areas of northwestern Syria, where it is estimated that thousands of people are still trapped. Disruptions including widespread power outages, blocked roads and logistical failures are further complicating efforts by aid organizations.

UW experts discuss the earthquake (UW News)

Thousands of structures in both countries have collapsed. Tens of thousands are without shelter. And, the situation poses the possibility of a manifest humanitarian crisis in an unstable region already struggling with crises from years of war, refugees fleeing conflict and economic instability.

The affected region is in dire need of medical and other disaster relief supplies

Many international UWCFD nonprofit organizations have begun mobilizing their response teams. The need is overwhelming and growing fast. 

Did you know? When climate disasters strike, women are less likely to survive and more likely to be injured due to long standing gender inequalities that have created disparities in information, mobility, decision-making, and access to resources and training (source: UN Women).

Consider making a one-time gift or setting up monthly payroll deduction through the UWCFD to one of our member organizations actively responding to the crisis:

UNICEF USA‘s (charity code 0315489) medical and nutrition teams are working to provide first aid for those who are injured. UNICEF is also providing critical aid, including kitchen equipment, hygiene supplies including soap, detergent, towels, sanitary pads and water buckets, warm clothes, shoes and blankets, as well as tents and tarpaulins.

International Rescue Committee (IRC) (charity code 0315540) has deployed mobile health teams to  help provide food, medical teams, health clinics and temporary shelters.

CARE (charity code 0315522): CARE’s Rapid Response Team is deploying experts who will provide food, temporary shelter, and vital supplies to those affected by the earthquake.

Project Hope (charity code 0316050): Project HOPE is a global health and humanitarian aid organization that connects healthcare providers to communities around the world to address immediate and long-term health needs. Through its global emergency response teams, the organization is providing medical supplies and aid to communities in both Turkey and Syria.

Action Against Hunger (charity code 0316711) immediately mobilized its emergency response team in Syria, where it has been on the ground since 2008, including specialists in emergency response logistics; food and nutrition; and water, sanitation and hygiene, in response to the earthquakes.

International Medical Corps (charity code 1479246) was established in 1984 by volunteer doctors and nurses to address the critical need for lifesaving healthcare and supplies to children, families and communities that have lost everything due to conflict, disaster and disease.

Save the Children (charity code 0315475): International NGO Save The Children has teams on the ground supporting earthquake victims and assessing the impact of lost homes, buildings, and essential infrastructure. The organization is working with partner organizations in North West Syria and is establishing a response team in Turkey. The organization will primarily provide affected children with access to food, shelter, and warm clothing.

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (charity code 0315935) International humanitarian organization MSF has mobilized in Syria to respond to the medical needs of earthquake victims. The organization is currently treating patients in Idlib, northern Syria, and are coordinating emergency medical kits and additional support to health agencies and other facilities.

American Red Cross International Services (charity code 0338058) helps vulnerable individuals and communities around the world to prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, complex humanitarian emergencies, and life-threatening health conditions.

Americares (charity code 0315518) is offering assistance to partner organizations in Turkey and Syria and is ready to respond with medicine, relief supplies and emergency funding to help survivors access health services.

OXFAM (charity code 0316360) Oxfam is a global organization that fights inequality to end poverty and injustice. We offer lifesaving support in times of crisis and advocate for economic justice, gender equality, and climate action. 

Non-UWCFD Aid Organizations

You can also donate directly to these aid organizations that are not members of the UW Combined Fund Drive:

The International Blue Crescent Relied and Development Foundation (IBC) is a humanitarian aid and development NGO based in Turkey, providing emergency relief, rehabilitation, development, and risk mitigation to international communities. In a public statement, the organization said it would use monetary donations to fund “tens of thousands of tents, heaters for the tents, tens of thousands of blankets, thermal clothes, ready-to-eat food for at least to 5,000 people, and basic first aid kits.”

Affiliates of the United Nations World Food Programme, including the World Food Program USA, helps provide food assistance to communities around the world. The program is currently collecting donations from the global community to distribute basic needs and emergency food.

Bridge to Türkiye Fund (BTF) was established in 2003 by Turkish American volunteers driven to make a difference, to improve life and to cultivate social change for the common good.

Consume information wisely and research organizations before you donate

Misinformation spreads quickly during mass tragedies: To stay informed, follow and rely on firsthand sources, including local journalists and reporters in the area, and avoid sharing information that has not been verified.

Tips for avoiding misinformation and disinformation (Prof. Kate Starbird, UW Center for an Informed Public)

All UWCFD-member nonprofit organizations are vetted by the Washington Secretary of State Office, so you can rest assured your contributions will be directed where you intend. For a non-UWCFD organization, you may want to do some research to make sure it is reputable. Sites like Charity Navigator and Guidestar grade nonprofits based on transparency and effectiveness.