Turkey earthquake: What can people in Wales do to help?

  • In Science
  • 2023-02-08 18:39:31Z
  • By BBC
Two earth quakes devastated vast swathes of Turkey and Syria
Two earth quakes devastated vast swathes of Turkey and Syria  

More than 11,000 people have been killed and thousands injured since south-east Turkey was hit by a massive earthquake this week.

Striking near Gaziantep, it was followed by multiple aftershocks, one almost as large as the first.

In some of the worst-hit areas, families have said rescue efforts have been too slow, leaving them to find relatives without help.

As people watch events unfold they are starting to ask what they can do.

Who do I contact to help?

The Welsh Centre for International Affairs is urging people to donate to groups already at the scene.

It said this should be done through established organisations including the British Syrian Medical Society, Islamic Relief in Turkey and Syria, Oxfam in Turkey and Syria and the British Red Cross with Red Crescent.

The organisation urged people only to send money saying: "WCIA strongly encourage people in Wales to focus on donating funds rather than clothing and other items, which can be impossible to transport and distribute and may undermine co-ordination of local aid efforts on the ground."

Funds, it said, would reach those on the ground fastest so they can get survivors what they need most - medical treatment, shelter and clothing.

Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey
Map showing the location of the two earthquakes in Turkey  

Islamic Relief's Salah Aboulgasem, based in Gazientep, Turkey, said: "The priority right now is saving lives by clearing the rubble.

"The next priority is supporting people who have lost their homes and gone through huge trauma. People need medicines and warmth."

Have the DEC made an appeal?

When catastrophes such as earthquakes happen, the Disasters Emergency Committee normally asks for help.

An umbrella group of UK charities, it makes collective appeals to raise funds for aid and relief to those caught in disasters and humanitarian crises.

It has announced its appeal will be officially launched on Thursday.

It believes 380,000 people had sought refuge in government shelters or hotels.

On its website, it said: "Immediate priorities are medical treatment for the injured, shelter for those who have lost their homes, heating in safe spaces, blankets, warm clothes and ensuring people have food and clean water."

Televised appeals will be broadcast on the BBC, ITV, S4C, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky on Thursday and BBC radio appeals will be broadcast through the day.

DEC chief executive, Saleh Saeed, said the devastation was \"heart-breaking\"
DEC chief executive, Saleh Saeed, said the devastation was \"heart-breaking\"  

DEC chief executive Saleh Saeed said: "The devastation in Turkey and Syria is heart-breaking, with thousands of people losing loved ones suddenly in the most shocking of ways.

"Funds are urgently needed to support families with medical aid, emergency shelter, food and clean water in freezing, snowy conditions."

What are other people in Wales doing?

Firefighters from across the UK, including Mid and West Wales, and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, are heading to Turkey to help.

A dog detection team from Penmaenmawr, Conwy county, had been hoping to go out to help but were stood down on Tuesday.

Swansea University psychology professor Filiz Celik's family live in Adana, Turkey, which has been devastated by the earthquake.

She woke up to find her phone pinging with texts, but has since found out her family are all OK.

But there are friends she cannot reach because phones have gone dead and there is no way of charging them.

Filiz Celik
Filiz Celik  

Prof Celik is now collecting money to send to help and wants to go out and help at some point to offer help as a psychologist.

"I'm going to talk to my employers perhaps to take an extended leave and go," she said.

The Newport Diyanet Education Community Centre, a Turkish group, has sent two vans and a lorry full of donations and is now focusing on collecting funds because of difficulties in transporting donations.

The centre's Cagri Coskun said: "We are trying to send money so they can source blankets, generators and whatever else they need from over there.

"There are various charities in the UK in contact with search and rescue teams so money can go to people on the ground."

In Cwmbran, Torfaen, dance teacher Beckie Forrest has also been collecting donations.

The family of her husband, Selman Han, are from Turkey but are OK.

The mum-of-two, 33, said she was organising a raffle and was concentrating on raising cash.

"The response has been amazing, we have had so many people donate," she said.

Mohammed Alhadj Ali, from the Syrian Welsh Society, called the situation "catastrophic".

He said: "They need medical aid, they need shelters, help and support to get people out of rooms."

Is the UK government helping?

The UK government will match the first £2m of donations from the British public to the DEC's Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal as part of a wider support package.

It said this was in addition to ongoing UK aid to Syria and Turkey.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly said: "When disasters like these terrible earthquakes strike, we know the British people want to help."


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