Trigger warning: this article contains sensitive content
The world watched in horror on Monday as a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck south-eastern Turkey, close to the north-western Syrian border.
Over 11,000 people have been killed in the devastating earthquake and its aftershocks, with many still missing and trapped under collapsed buildings, of which there are thousands. Tens of thousands of people have been injured and according to the World Health Organisation, the death toll could reach 20,000 in the coming days.
The earthquakes are reported to be the worst to hit south-eastern Turkey in 19 years, and the worst to strike Syria in over a century.
With videos circulating social media showing babies and young children still being pulled from the wreckage, it is hard not to feel helpless when watching the news unfold. But there are ways for us all to support the 20 million people affected across Turkey and Syria - millions of whom already relied on humanitarian assistance.
The first days after an earthquake are the most critical, and as temperatures drop below freezing, aid organisations on the ground are in urgent need of donations to continue their search for survivors, and provide food, shelter and emergency care.
5 organisations supporting victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake
Millions of people across Turkey and Syria are in urgent need of aid right now. Here are 5 organisations on the ground that you can donate to in order to support the victims - providing medical care, clothes, shelter and food, as well as continuing with their rescue mission.
1. Choose Love
"Help is needed to keep people protected from the freezing temperatures," Choose Love's urgent appeal announced. "People are sleeping in cars and on the streets, including children and babies, through the sub-zero temperatures as their homes have been destroyed or are too dangerous to be in.
"Access to phone signal is limited, making communication difficult, and basic supplies like food, water, blankets, fuel for medical vehicles and heat and access to electricity are all desperately needed," their emergency appeal continued. "Please keep giving whatever you can to help people survive this disaster. Even the smallest amount makes a huge difference."
"Over 11,000 people have died so far in Turkey and Syria, and more than 35,000 people have been injured and displaced," announced ActionAid in their emergency earthquake appeal. "Major buildings have collapsed and the numbers are expected to rise as the search for survivors continues in both countries.
"ActionAid will be responding with shelter, food, medical aid, warm clothing, heaters and cash for those who has lost their homes and are out on the streets."
3. International Rescue Committee
"In the wake of the powerful earthquake, our teams in Syria are working tirelessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those affected," stated the International Rescue Committee of their emergency appeal. "Our more than 1,000 staff inside the country are providing lifesaving health care and protection services along with other emergency early recovery support.
"As humanitarian needs soar, we are launching an integrated response to affected populations across both Turkey and Syria. This will include the provision of immediate cash, basic items, such as blankets and towels, and hygiene supplies like soap, toothbrushes and feminine products. We will support essential health services in earthquake affected areas, and set up safe spaces for affected women and children."
4. Islamic Relief
"Freezing temperatures, shortages in fuel and electricity due to damaged infrastructure, limited supplies due to strained supply chains and more are hampering the efforts of search and rescue teams on the ground," announced Islamic Relief in their emergency appeal. !Approximately 380,000 people have taken refuge in government shelters, shopping malls, community centres and even their cars to protect them from the cold.
"The scale of this disaster cannot yet be determined as the situation on the ground continues to evolve, what we do know is that it is a race against time to save lives."
5. Save The Children
"Our teams are operating hand-in-hand with long-time partners across northwest Syria and Turkey," announced Save The Children, launching their emergency earthquake fund. "Together, we’re assessing what children and their families need, so we can deliver emergency relief. But we urgently need your help.
"You can help us get families the food, warm blankets, winter clothes and shelter materials they need to survive. You can help us set up safe spaces for women and children, and get psychological support to children so they can start to process their terrible experiences."
We will continue to update this story.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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