The two massive February 6 earthquakes and their aftershocks in Turkey and Syria destroyed thousands of buildings. The death toll as of this writing is over 40,000, and the UN estimates that with continuing recovery work this number will likely soon double. Photos show widespread devastation. The quakes toppled buildings that have stood – in an earthquake-prone area – for many centuries. Modern and even recently constructed buildings collapsed as well. The earthquakes occurred relatively close to the earth’s surface, increasing their destructive power. Rescue efforts have been hampered by alternating freezing weather, snow, and heavy rains, conditions that are further exacerbating the human suffering. The general who leads the U.S. European Command called the earthquakes “an incalculable disaster.”
The U.S. military has begun relief work in Turkey, including search-and rescue operations and medical services. The U.S. has also allocated funds for relief work in Syria, although given the civil war that effort will be difficult. The U.S. Treasury Department has lifted for six months, for earthquake related transactions, sanctions otherwise in place against Syria.
The humanitarian needs created by these quakes are enormous. There are now thousands of refugees, as there is a severe shortage of safe housing in affected areas. Medical facilities are wholly inadequate. Restoring electrical and water service will take time. It is critical that the U.S. expand its assistance efforts.
A pending House resolution would encourage delivery of that help. It expresses condolences from the United States and urges the Biden Administration to provide “immediate assistance” to the people of Turkey.
What You Can Do
- Express your support for on social media
“I support the House Resolution encouraging immediate assistance to the people of Turkey and I urge its immediate passage. Time is of the essence and the people in earthquake-shattered areas of Turkey need our help.”
- Donate to at least one of the following organizations that is working to provide urgent and much-needed assistance to the people in the earthquake-affected areas:
- Turkish Philanthropy Funds: https://donate.tpfund.org/campaign/tpf-turkiye-earthquake/c465112 Turkish Philanthropy Funds is the leading U.S.-based community foundation dedicated to social projects in Turkish and Turkish-American communities.
- AHBAP: https://ahbap.org/ This local Turkish organization “works with value systems based on solidarity, sharing, and belonging.”
- World Central Kitchen: https://donate.wck.org/give/417669/#!/donation/checkout WCK works as a first responder in disaster zones in the United States and abroad. This not-for-profit, non-governmental organization delivers food to existing restaurants and other local institutions with commercial kitchens, which then prepare free meals for local residents. WCK, founded by chef Jose Andres in 2010, is already on the ground in areas of Turkey devastated by the earthquakes.
- CARE: care.org/earthquake CARE, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1945, is a major humanitarian agency that, among other things, delivers emergency relief where needed around the world.