A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake rocked southeast Turkey and northern Syria early Monday, toppling hundreds of buildings and killing more than 6,200 people.
As of Monday morning, thousands of people were injured and hundreds still believed to be trapped under rubble. The toll is expected to rise as rescue workers search mounds of wreckage in cities and towns across the area.
On both sides of the border, the predawn quake left buildings pancaked after a cold, rainy and snowy night. Major aftershocks and new quakes, including one nearly as strong as the first, continued to rattle the region as relief efforts began in the midst of a winter storm.
As countries across the world gear up to join the relief effort and provide aid, here’s how you can help from the Pacific Northwest:
Islamic Relief USA
With offices around the world, Islamic Relief USA launched a global appeal Monday to raise $24 million to provide urgent aid in Syria and Turkey.
In northwest Syria, Islamic Relief is providing urgent medical supplies to help overwhelmed hospitals and clinics, as well as blankets and tents for people.
The Islamic Relief team is distributing all the supplies they have in stock, said Mohammed Hamza, head of Islamic Relief’s office in Idlib, northwest Syria, “but these will run out today, and we need more as soon as possible.”
“People urgently need tents, food parcels and blankets. Hospitals are inundated with injured people, so we’re providing them with medicine and other supplies,” Hamza added.
In southeast Turkey, the organization will provide cash vouchers to survivors, the organization said in a news release.
Hamza witnessed the destruction in Syria firsthand.
“It was 4 a.m. and I woke up to the house shaking from side to side. Everything was shaking, bricks were falling out,” Hamza said. “People were shouting for their lost children — whole families were separated and lost.”
Donations are accepted at irusa.org and on Instagram.
In Syria, UNICEF teams are on the ground to assess the need for relief, including hard-to-reach and non-government-controlled areas, according to the organization.
The organization said its initial focus is on:
- Assessing the impact on main water stations, interruption and damages in water services and providing water to those displaced
- Assessing separated or unaccompanied children and providing immediate protective services
- Assessing damages in schools to see if schools can be used as shelter
“The psychological impact on some people we met is grave, mentioning that this has been the severest natural disaster witnessed, also in terms of impact on people/displacement,” said Angela Kearney, a UNICEF representative in Syria.
Donations are accepted at unicefusa.org/ActNowEarthquake.
Save the Children
Save the Children said on Twitter “thousands of children have been forced out of their homes into the freezing night and are without shelter. We’re moving quickly.”
In northwest Syria, the organization is working closely with its partners to assess the scale of damage and support children.
In Turkey, the organization has established a response team. The organization is planning to support impacted communities with winterization and emergency kits, including blankets and winter clothing.
The organization is asking for donations to its Children’s Emergency Fund because the earthquake has impacted multiple countries.
Humanity & Inclusion
Humanity & Inclusion and its 335-person team in Syria is providing people with rehabilitation and mental health psychosocial support, according to the organization.
“We expect a huge need for rehabilitation,” said Myriam Abord-Hugon, the organization’s head of mission in Syria. “There are thousands of injured people, and many of these injuries may worsen or turn into permanent disabilities if they do not receive appropriate rehabilitation services. In addition, people have suffered significant trauma and will need psychosocial support.”
HI is also deploying with the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination and will send rehab specialists to join an emergency medical teams response in Turkey.
Donations are accepted at hi-us.org/?form=earthquake-2023.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières
MSF is an international, independent organization that provides medical assistance to people affected by disasters such as the earthquake that rocked Turkey and Syria.
In northern Syria, teams are treating patients in their supported hospitals, according to the organization. Teams have also donated emergency medical kits to other facilities in the region.
The organization said it is in close contact with authorities in northwest Syria and southern Turkey to determine how to best support people impacted by the earthquake.
Learn more and donate at msf.org/turkey.
Turkish Red Crescent
Turkish Red Crescent, which is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent, has mobilized across the country and set up a crisis desk in Ankara.
“Our teams are mobilized across the country after a major earthquake affecting over 10 provinces and the South and Southeast regions of Türkiye causing casualties and destruction,” the organization said on Twitter.
Donations are accepted on their website.
Syrian American Medical Society
The Syrian American Medical Society is providing urgent medical care.
“Our hospitals are overwhelmed with patients filling the hallways. There is an immediate need for trauma supplies and a comprehensive emergency response to save lives and treat the injured,” SAMS said in an online statement.
Many hospitals in the region are full, and some critical facilities, including Al Dana Hospital, had to evacuate patients after sustaining severe damage from the earthquake. The Idleb Maternity Hospital was forced to transfer all newborns to a nearby hospital, SAMS said.
Donations are accepted at sams-usa.net/donate, fundraise.givesmart.com/vf/EarthquakeSyria and by texting EarthquakeSyria to 71777.
The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation
The International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation is assisting local authorities in their emergency relief efforts. In a public appeal, the IBC said its current urgent needs are:
- Thermal clothes
- Ready-to-eat food
- Basic first aid kits
For information on how to donate, visit ibc.org.tr/EN/main.
Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations
The Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations, which has provided independent and impartial relief and medical care to victims of war in Syria since 2012, has put out an urgent call to the international community to release emergency funds to provide aid and rescue resources.
In an online statement, the UOSSM said its hospitals and medical facilities are overwhelmed and will need support to ensure that lives are saved in the quake aftermath.
“We know building infrastructures in Syria have already been compromised from years of bombing campaigns. We need urgent aid immediately so we can help save lives of those injured in this massive earthquake,” said Dr. Khaula Sawah, President of UOSSM USA.
Donations are accepted at uossm.org/donate_now.
Social justice organization CARE International is assessing the most urgent needs to help in emergency response efforts.
CARE is continuing its existing cross-border operations to respond to areas in northwest Syria, where teams and partners are trying to deliver blankets, food, mattresses, tents and other nonfood items to people in need amid harsh weather conditions, according to the organization.
Donations are accepted at care-international.org/donate.
Project HOPE has deployed emergency response teams with additional teams en route as the organization continues coordinating with partners to respond to the most urgent needs.
“The earthquakes that struck Türkiye and Syria this morning have already claimed thousands of lives. We anticipate a very arduous and long road to recovery ahead, including search and rescue efforts, health system reconstruction and mass displacement,” said Rabih Torbay, Project HOPE’s president and CEO.
Donations are accepted online.
GlobalGiving has launched the Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund, providing immediate relief to those impacted by the earthquakes.
The organization’s partners across the region are already responding to this crisis, GlobalGiving said.
Donations to the GlobalGiving Turkey and Syria Earthquake Relief Fund will help meet immediate needs for food, shelter and water. Once initial relief work is complete, the fund will transition to support longer-term recovery efforts run by local organizations.
Donations are accepted at globalgiving.org/projects/turkey-earthquake-relief-fund.
World Vision, a humanitarian organization based in Federal Way, is helping people get access to temporary shelters, heaters, clean water and health care. They are also providing care for children whose families aren’t able to in the midst of this crisis.
Donations are accepted at donate.worldvision.org/give/turkiye-and-syria-emergency-response.
Direct Relief, a humanitarian medical aid group specializing in disaster response, began mobilizing medical aid and has committed an initial $200,000 to local partners in Turkey and Syria.
The organization has committed $100,000 to AKUT, the leading search and rescue team in Turkey with over 400 staff and volunteers. They have also committed $100,000 to the Syrian American Medical Society, which operates health facilities in northwest Syria. Those facilities have already received over 1,000 patients impacted by the earthquake.
Donations are accepted a directrelief.org/emergency/turkey-syria-earthquake.
Americares, a health-focused relief and development organization, is planning to send urgently-needed medicines and relief supplies, including wound care products and first aid items, to supply health workers treating survivors.
Americares is also preparing to provide emergency funding to local health partners working in the region to help restore health services in the hardest hit communities.
“Survivors need immediate medical care for broken bones, lacerations and other wounds, and the medicine and relief supplies we will be providing will be put to use immediately to help save lives,” said Cora Nally, Americares Director of International Emergency Response.
Donations are accepted at americares.org/Turkey-SyriaRelief.
World Food Program USA
World Food Program USA is actively supporting the United Nations World Food Programme aid efforts on the ground.
The U.N. World Food Programme has operated in Turkey and Syria for decades and has teams on the ground in both countries while monitoring the situation closely. The organization is working to deliver food in just hours to people in urgent need.
Donations are accepted at wfpusa.org/donate/Emergency-SyriaTürkiyeEarthquake_REF_MEDIA.
Mercy Corps is currently responding in northwest Syria, rapidly assessing needs, providing emergency water, sanitation and hygiene activities and working to deliver essential supplies (blankets, solar lamps, mattresses, carpets and more) to communities affected by the earthquake.
Donations are accepted at mercycorps.org/donate/catastrophic-earthquake-strikes-syria.
Oxfam teams in Turkey and Syria are assessing the type of immediate and longer-term support that is needed.
Donations are accepted online.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.