It has been more than two weeks since two devastating earthquakes struck both Turkey and Syria, killing at least 44,000 people.
Centred in southern Turkey, the powerful natural disasters have caused widespread destruction across the two countries and have displaced an estimated 23 million people. Reconstruction efforts have been hampered by another two strong earthquakes in the region this week, which killed a further six people.
Search and rescue crews from around the world have been providing assistance in Turkey, including 70 members of the UK International Search and Rescue Team and Mexico’s famous dog squad. Financial and physical aid, including food and shelter materials, have also been pouring into both Turkey and Syria.
Reconstruction efforts have been made difficult by freezing conditions and damaged energy infrastructure in the areas worst-affected by the twin quakes, with those in Syria also being made more challenging by the country’s ongoing civil war. Forces associated with President Bashar al-Assad have been accused of shelling teams working to free people from wreckage.
Several UK charities have launched appeals for money to help them get support through to people affected by the earthquakes. Now, the UK Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) - which includes many of the charities running existing appeals - has launched a government-backed fundraiser. So, how can you donate to it - and what aid is the DEC after?
What is the DEC?
The Disasters Emergency Committee is an organisation made up of 15 aid and humanitarian charities. The idea behind it is that by speaking with one voice, the charities can raise awareness of and fundraise for causes in a more efficient manner.
It raises money for major international natural disasters and incidents that it feels its members can meaningfully help with. Ongoing appeals taking place alongside its latest Turkey-Syria earthquake work include aid efforts for people hit by serious flooding in Pakistan and the war in Ukraine.
DEC member charities have to go through strict procedures on how they spend donations. They have to draw up detailed disaster response plans and regularly report on their activities in order to access funds. The following are the charities that make up the DEC:
- Action Against Hunger
- Age International
- British Red Cross
- CARE International
- Christian Aid
- International Rescue Committee
- Islamic Relief
- Plan International
- Save the Children
- World Vision
How to donate to DEC Turkey-Syria earthquake appeal?
The DEC has launched an appeal for funds to help them get aid through to those affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake. Many of its member charities have a presence on the ground in both countries, whether that’s directly or through sister or partner organisations.
At present, they are only asking for cash donations, rather than for any clothing or food. This is because most of the charities say they need to get supplies to affected people on the ground now (several Turkish societies and community groups are collecting vital items to transport to Turkey).
To donate to the DEC appeal, you should visit the Turkey-Syria earthquake section of its website. The UK government has pledged to match donations pound-for-pound up to a total of £5 million.
There are several ways you can give the DEC money. All of these can be found in the ‘How you can Help’ section of its website. You can call the organisation on 0370 60 60 610 or text SUPPORT to 70787 to donate £10. The DEC is also receiving cheques, which can be posted to DEC Turkey-Syria Earthquake Appeal, PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA.