On Feb. 6, devastating earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria with magnitudes of 7.8 and 7.5. The earthquakes broke along 62 miles of fault line. As of Feb. 10, the death toll has passed 22,000 and keeps rising. The earthquake was caused by fault lines around Turkey and Syria, specifically the Arabian and Anatolian plates. Pressure built up and the Arabian plate moved northwards, grinding against the Anatolian plate. Aftershocks have been a hazard; over 125 aftershocks measuring over 4.0 have occurred since the earthquakes. These plates have historically caused earthquakes before, though not quite of this magnitude, killing 7,000 people in 1822.
The World Health Organization estimates that up to 23 million people could be affected by this disaster, and a state of emergency has been declared in Turkey for the next 3 months. Freezing temperatures and bad weather are hindering rescue efforts, and those rescued are suffering from hunger and cold. The devastation was caused not only by the earthquake, but also by the timing and circumstances. The earthquakes struck early in the morning, when people were still sleeping, in an area where buildings weren’t built to withstand that kind of stress.
If you are able, there are many places you could donate to help people affected by the earthquake.
Doctors Without Borders opened a donation page to help their teams respond.
International Blue Crescent Relief and Development Foundation is asking for donations of tents, heaters, thermal clothes, first aid kits and ready-to-eat meals.
The Syrian American Medical Society also set up a quake relief fund.
The White Helmets, a humanitarian aid organization which operates in rebel-controlled places in Syria, also asked for donations to support efforts to search for the victims.
Both the Syrian Red Crescent and Turkish Red Crescent, which are both Red Cross affiliates, are also asking for donations.
The International Rescue Committee has 1,000 staff members aiding in Syria and has launched responses in Turkey as well.
The United Nations World Food Programme is taking donations to deliver food to people affected by the earthquakes.
UNICEF has been coordinating with Turkey’s emergency responses and ensuring that families have access to water in Syria.
When donating, it’s important to make sure that your money is actually going towards the cause that you’re trying to support. It’s helpful to start with major international groups that are reputable and are among the first to put together cohesive on-the-ground responses. The Washington Post and Public Broadcasting Service have also published articles and resources for earthquake relief. Major companies like Apple and Amazon have also been preparing donations of money and relief items.